The British Prime Minister and leader of the conservatives, David Cameron, has since Tuesday been at the centre of criticisms over his ‘fantastically corrupt’ remarks on Nigeria. Cameron was caught on camera on Tuesday telling Queen Elizabeth that leaders of some “fantastically corrupt” countries, including Nigeria and Afghanistan, were due to attend an anti-corruption summit expected to hold in London on Thursday. He specifically described Nigeria and Afghanistan as “possibly two of the most corrupt countries in the world”
But should Nigerians and President Mohammadu Buhari be offended by Mr. Cameron’s rash statement? Below are the some of the reasons why:
1. President Buhari has made worse statements about Nigeria: Earlier this year, in an interview with The Telegraph UK, the tough ex-general was quoted as saying:
“We have an image problem abroad; we are on our way to salvage that. Because of the number of Nigerians imprisoned for law-breaking in Britain and elsewhere, they were also unlikely to get much sympathy.’’
“Some Nigerians claim is that life is too difficult back home, but they have also made it difficult for Europeans and Americans to accept them because of the number of Nigerians in prisons all over the world accused of drug trafficking or human trafficking,”
2. President Buhari believes Cameron’s statement: It can be inferred that President Buhari admits Nigeria is corrupt, but not with his administration. In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Garba Shehu, Buhari said the ‘‘remark was wrongly timed and in bad faith.’’ He argues that the Prime Minister’s statement is certainly not reflective of the good work that the President is doing, and that he (David Cameron) must be looking at the old snapshot of Nigeria.
At the London Summit on Wednesday, president Buhari also said: “Corruption does not discriminate between developed and developing countries. Any country that thinks it’s safe from corruption should Wake Up!”
3. Buhari is allegedly not part of the corrupt Nigerians: Even while the Prime Minister made the comment about Nigeria being one of the “fantastically corrupt Countries”, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby quickly corrected him and acknowledged in the presence of the Queen of England that President Buhari ‘is actually not corrupt and he is doing a great job in Nigeria.’
4. It is the truth; Nigerians need to hear it: Besides the ‘loose-tongued’ comment by Mr. Cameron, Britain had been a bolt hole for numerous corrupt Nigerians and the return of the loots is one of the demands of President Buhari at the London anti-corruption summit. Nigerian politicians are accusable wont of money laundering, and reckless lifestyle abroad.
5. $20 Billion Still Missing from NNPC: Till date, the $20 billion made from the sale of Nigeria’s crude oil by the NNPC is still missing. The missing $20 billion is one of the financial lapses in ex-President Jonathan’s administration. President Buhari, during his election campaign also promised to probe into and recover the missing funds. The immediate past governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Sanusi Lamido, had alleged that the $20 billion made from the sale of Nigeria’s crude oil by the NNPC could not be accounted for.
6. Saraki’s CCT Trial: Nigeria’s President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki is currently facing a 16-count charge on false declaration of assets at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
7. Expensive cars recently bought for Nigerian Senators: Despite cash crunch in Nigeria, the Nigerian Senate has recently purchased 36 Sport Utility Vehicles for its members. The vehicle, ‘Land Cruiser VXR V8’ is rated at N36.6m each including the cost of purchase, and other taxes. According to the Chairman, Committee on Senate Services, Senator Abdullahi Gobir, he said the senate is supposed to buy 109 cars for all its members but because of the paucity of funds, sensitivity and concern for lack of funds, the senate bought only 36 to go round per state, and the purchase has been appropriated for in the 2015 budget.
8. VP Osinbajo recently revealed that 55 Nigerians Stole N1.4trn In 7 Years: Yemi Osinbajo has disclosed that 55 Nigerians stole N1.4 trillion of the nation’s money in seven years. He made the disclosure yesterday at a multi-stakeholders’ dialogue on empowering institutions and citizens for successful fight against corruption organised by Transparency International (TI) in conjunction with the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) in Abuja.