Transparency International has frowned at comments of the British Prime Minister about Nigeria and Afghanistan’s corruption status ahead of the Anti-Corruption Summit that will hold in the UK, pointing accusing fingers at the UK as being part of the world’s corruption problem.
Mr David Cameron had told Queen Elizabeth that the UK would greet some ‘fantastically corrupt’ countries by Thursday, putting Nigeria and Afghanistan in that category.
The statement had drawn reactions, with the British Prime Minister trending on Twitter.
He was caught on camera having a conversation about the Summit with the Queen, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby and the Speaker of parliament’s House of Commons, John Bercow
When the Queen approached, Mr Cameron said: “We had a very successful cabinet meeting this morning, talking about our anti-corruption summit”.
“We have got the Nigerians – actually we have got some leaders of some fantastically corrupt countries coming to Britain,” he stated.
Responding to the comments, the Managing Director of Transparency International, Cobus de Swardt, said: “There is no doubt that historically, Nigeria and Afghanistan have had very high levels of corruption, and that continues to this day”.
He, however, stressed that the leaders of those countries had sent strong signals that they wanted things to change.
“The London Anti-Corruption Summit creates an opportunity for all the countries present to sign up to a new era.
“This affects the UK as much as other countries: we should not forget that by providing a safe haven for corrupt assets, the UK and its Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies are a big part of the world’s corruption problem.”
In a swift reaction. the Presidency in Abuja pointed out that Camerons comment is not reflective of the anti-corruption posture of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration’.
Presidential spokesman, Mr Garba Shehu, said the Prime Minister must be looking at the country’s past.
He said Buhari was changing all that were wrong with Nigeria, including corruption, and that his efforts had reflected in his choice as a keynote speaker at a pre-summit in London.
The presidential spokesman said: “It is certainly not reflective of the good work that the President is doing. The eyes of the world are on what is happening here.
Meanwhile,it is not immediately clear if the comments will cause a rift between Britain, Nigeria and Afghanistan, as the leader attends the Summit where they intend to push for faster repatriation of looted funds.
Nigeria’s President Buhari is already in the UK for the summit that is expected to begin on Thursday.