British Prime Minister, David Cameron on Tuesday, May 10, 2016, described Nigeria as a “fantastically corrupt” country.
Cameron made the comment while speaking to the Queen at an event held in Buckingham Palace to mark her 90th birthday. He was caught on camera by ITV.
“We had a very successful cabinet meeting this morning. We talked about our anti-corruption summit. We've got...leaders of some fantastically corrupt countries coming to Britain,” Cameron said.
“Nigeria and Afghanistan are possibly two of the most corrupt countries in the world,” he added.
Cameron’s remarks were broadcast round the world in seconds, thanks to social media, and as expected, many Nigerians took offence.
However, despite the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the prime minister’s comments, the truth in them cannot be denied.
Nigeria is not just fantastically corrupt, it is also amazingly corrupt and ridiculously corrupt and every truthful and aware citizen knows this.
How else can you describe a country where one individual personally supervised the stealing of $6 billion from the public treasury?
What else can you say about a nation where a public official takes out $47 million from the Central Bank with documentation to prove it?
Where does one even begin the journey to understanding how a senior military officer can comfortably pocket more than N500 million every MONTH with no fear or remorse?
Even more unbelievable is the fact that all this is happening in a country where many citizens live in extreme poverty.
The sad truth is that Nigeria is corrupt, terribly so, and the sooner we come to terms with this, the sooner we can fix the problem.
As bestselling British author, JK Rowling said “…Only with acceptance can there be recovery.”
Thankfully, President Muhammadu Buhari’s government is working to end the scourge and this was stated by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who was part of Cameron’s audience.
“But this particular president is not corrupt... he's trying very hard,” Welby said.
Global anti-corruption group, Transparency International, also came to Nigeria’s defence following Cameron’s comment, this shows that Nigeria’s image is slowly being redeemed before the world.
“There is no doubt that historically, Nigeria and Afghanistan have had very high levels of corruption, and that continues to this day. But the leaders of those countries have sent strong signals that they want things to change, and the London Anti-Corruption Summit creates an opportunity for all the countries present to sign up to a new era,” the organization said via a statement signed by its Managing Director, Cobus de Swardt.
On the other hand, it’s time for Cameron to help Nigeria in its anti-corruption drive by weeding out those who have stashed the country’s wealth in the UK and return such illegally acquired assets, instead of just “whispering” and doing nothing about it.