Nigeria asks UK for ‘stolen’ money post Cameron gaffe

12th May 2016
Nigeria asks UK for ‘stolen’ money post Cameron gaffe

LAGOS, Nigeria (AA) – Nigerian president shot back at British premier’s “fantastically corrupt nation” remark Wednesday, by calling on the U.K. to return all the money it “stole” from Nigeria.

On Tuesday, Britain’s David Cameron was overheard describing Afghanistan and Nigeria as “possibly the two most corrupt countries in the world”.

Cameron was picked up making the remarks by television microphones as he spoke to Queen Elizabeth II at an event to mark her 90th birthday. The Afghan and Nigerian leaders are among the representatives of 70 countries attending an anti-corruption summit in London.

Presidential spokesman Femi Adesina quoted Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari as saying: “I’m not going to demand any apology. All I’ll demand is return of assets. What would I do with apology? I need something tangible.”

Later, in his speech at an anti-corruption conference held inside the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, Buhari rapped western countries for serving as havens for looted funds, which he blamed for widespread poverty and infrastructural deficit in his country.

“I …call for the establishment of an international anti-corruption infrastructure that will monitor, trace and facilitate the return of such assets to their countries of origin. It is important to stress that the repatriation of identified stolen funds should be done without delay or preconditions.

“Opaque and murky as these illegal transactions may be, they are certainly traceable and can be acted upon, if all governments show the required political will.”

Buhari also said his administration would sign the “Open Government Partnership” initiatives alongside Cameron Thursday, but said such treaties were not enough to tackle corruption and oil theft.

He called on the international community to designate oil theft as an international crime similar to the trade in “blood diamonds” since, he said, it constituted an imminent and credible threat to the economy and stability of oil-producing countries like Nigeria.

Earlier on Tuesday night, Nigerian presidential spokesman Garba Shehu had called Cameron’s comment “embarrassing” and an “old snapshot” of the country.

Following the gaffe, British High Commission in the Nigerian capital of Abuja said Tuesday evening that the country “stands together” with Nigeria’s Buhari in its bid to fight corruption.

“U.K. stands together with the Nigerian president as he drives the fight against corruption in Nigeria. [We are] delighted he’s playing key role in London summit,” the commission tweeted Tuesday night.

Buhari is said to have taken some steps to fight corruption, with dozens of ex-government officials standing corruption trials. Nigerian Senate President Bukola Saraki, who is a member of Buhari’s ruling All Progressive Congress, is also facing a corruption trial.

Author Rafiu Oriyomi Ajakaye

 

[Photo: Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari. Photographer: Pool Presidnecy of Iran/AA]

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