BY ORIADE AYOMIDE
The federal government has explained why the late dictator, General Sani Abacha was honoured with a centenary award. Abacha’s regime between 1993 and 1998 was one of the most controversial in Nigeria’s history, but the government said the dictator deserved to be honoured for unprecedented achievements of his regime.
According to the federal government Mr. Abacha was also a Nigerian soldier and former leader whose regime recorded unprecedented economic achievements in Nigeria’s history.
The Federal Government also said Mr. Abacha oversaw an increase in the country’s foreign exchange reserves from $494 million in 1993 to $9.6 billion by the middle of 1997; and reduced the external debt of Nigeria from $36 billion in 1993 to $27 billion in 1997.
Mr. Abacha, the government noted, had brought all the controversial privatisation programs of the Babangida administration to a halt, reduced an inflation rate of 54 per cent inherited from the Ibrahim Babangida administration to 8.5 per cent between 1993 and 1998, while the nation’s primary commodity, oil, was at an average of $9 per barrel.
Abacha’s administration was also credited with creating the most ‘comprehensive and realistic blueprint’ for Nigeria’s development through Vision 2010 committee chaired by his predecessor, Ernest Shonekan.