I will begin this piece by ‘fantastically’ stating that Nigeria is, indeed, fantastically corrupt, but, the originator of this beautiful word (now a cliché) is not a saint either, in the blame game. British Prime Minister, David Cameron, caused a serious disaffection among many when he labelled Nigeria and Afghanistan as fantastically corrupt just before the recently concluded meeting on corruption convened by Britain. Tongues went flapping, but the reality is that, Nigeria is extremely corrupt. Nigerians went ballistic, but some were in affirmation of the statement confirming Nigeria’s corrupt status.
It is a shame to Nigerians that a leader from another country publicly put us to international scorn because of our attitude to transparency and accountability when it comes to governance. Public officers in Nigeria are a complete disappointment in that, the day-to-day running of government is in their hands, but compromised giving room for corruption to thrive. There is no Federal Ministry in Nigeria that can be exonerated from this blame. It’s just the norm of life in Nigeria. And if you try to challenge the status quo, you are booted out like an alien, or you are conspired against for doing what is right.
INDEED, NIGERIA IS FANTASTICALLY CORRUPT!
Because of corruption I can tell that nothing works in Nigeria. Nigerian leaders swim in corruption, in fact, they take their bath in corruption. There is indiscipline in our system in management of the nation’s resources. The many problems facing Nigeria today is as a result of long-term neglect by elected leaders to fix the basic needs of the people; rather, they are very much committed to enriching their own pocket, children, and even unborn children. This is the testament of corruption in Nigeria. You can imagine a particular Senator from Ekiti State saying she paid her way all through to the Senate when she was questioned by a curious citizen to give account of her responsibility, but she flared up. Her interest is bigger than that of the electorates. Those who elected her did not count after all.
Corruption permeates every sector in Nigeria. There is nothing you want to do that you would not be required to settle some corrupt interest in various organizations—public or private. Nigeria is highly ranked in the global index of corruption owing to the porous account/judicial system we practise. The widely publicized Panama papers investigation report uncovered several dealings involving Nigerians. These people can buy their way through because of their influence and social status in the society.
IS CAMERON IN THE RIGHT POSITION TO CHASTISE NIGERIA ON CORRUPTION? YES, BUT…
David Cameron is absolutely right to label Nigeria a corrupt country, but his hands are not clean, too. The Panama Papers leak uncovered so many illegal dealings involving global leaders and businessmen, including Mr. Cameron and some top British citizens who are connected to Mossack Fonseca in money laundering. If these findings were not discovered by investigators, that is how this evasive trend would continue and monies gotten from corrupt proceeds are illegally and consistently deposited abroad without proper records.
Besides, Britain as a country is corrupt, too. Western countries are fond of aiding corrupt politicians to deposit money illegally in their banks without proper checks to ascertain the origin of such monies before accepting it. This is probably done for economic purpose since the same money would be used to facilitate credit for their own citizens and overall transformation of their economy.
The West’s double standard to fighting corruption is overtly replicated in their inaction to willingly initiate a good policy to help repatriate monies stuffed in their banks. They have got a stringent monetary condition which makes it very difficult to repatriate stolen funds and assets back to the country of origin. The stolen funds are used to develop their country at the disadvantage of the country where the money was coming from.
For the sake of profit, many financial institutions in Britain and other countries in Europe have compromised the ethics of their profession in knowing the true identity of their various customers, especially customers from African countries. Surprisingly, British citizens are properly documented with respect to their financial account, but when a big politician comes from Africa to launder money, they suddenly let go some of their stringent banking procedures to accommodate illegitimate and questionable dealings for the sake of maximizing profit.
To conclude, President Buhari’s response to Mr. Cameron is certainly laudable where he said, “I am not going to be demanding any apology from anybody. What I will be demanding is the return of assets.” Buhari gave a well calculated or perfect response that is worthy of applause with respect to UK’s complicity in the fight against corruption. But Mr. Buhari, however, unequivocally acknowledged the fact that Cameron’s statement that Nigeria is fantastically corrupt cannot be faulted and as such efforts are on ground to right the wrong.
In a bid to defend Nigeria, the Federal Government said Cameron was seeing an old picture of Nigeria, that, his statement does not justify the present situation of the country. On the other hand, at the anti-corruption summit, Buhari, again, stated that, “Tackling the menace of corruption is not an easy task, but it is possible, even if many feathers have to be ruffled.” President Buhari is really trying in his fight against corruption in Nigeria, but I’m yet to be satisfied—convinced with his approach to nail looters comprehensively. The recovery process and prosecution of looters can be better than what is obtained presently. During the 2015 election campaign, one of the qualities that endeared Buhari to many was his willingness to fight corruption if elected. Now that he is in power, Nigerians are looking up to him to get the damn job done!
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