Former Commissioner Of Police, Lagos State
The British Prime Minister is right. But let me quickly add that things are fast changing in Nigeria today under President Muhammadu Buhari’s leadership.
Buhari is determined to fight corruption and his body language so far has shown that he meant business. I will enjoin Nigerians to support him, for it to be possible for us to have a new country that won’t be a laughing stock to other countries of the world.
However, I believe that there are still men and women of honour and integrity in Nigeria. It is not all Nigerians that are corrupt.
Executive Director, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL
For a long time, Britain has been worried by the high level of corruption in the country, and David Cameron obviously hit the nail on the head with his remarks. He was saying the obvious.
Look at the number of Nigerians currently involved in corruption-related cases in London: James Ibori, a former governor of Delta State is in jail in U.K over corruption issue. The same goes for late Diepreye Alaymeseigha, former governor of Bayelsa State who jumped bail in London, while undergoing trial for corruption. Even recently, we saw in the papers the houses bought in London with public money by Nigerian politicians .
Another sad case is the on-going trial of the nation’s number three citizen, Senator Bukola Saraki, who is undergoing trial for corrupt practices before the Code of Conduct Tribunal. The whole world is watching us. The irony of it, is that as these people are being exposed, they could not be brought to justice here. It is only in foreign lands that nemesis was catching up with them. We should not be angry with Cameron for that remark, rather we should see it as a wake up call for us to fight corruption.Nigerians should not see Cameron’s declaration as deriding, his remarks should not be seen as being offensive, rather, it should be seen by our leaders, especially those at the helm of affairs now, about the necessity for them to do the needful on corruption by tackling it headlong.
Retired General/Anti-Corruption Activist
Cameron is not wrong in his assertions, because corruption has reached such an alarming proportion in the country that all Nigerians should be concerned.
Look at billions of looted Naira and Dollars being recovered almost on a daily basis. I can’t believe my eyes when I read some of these things in the papers. It is sad to see how public money is being shared by few individuals. The people looting the treasury have not executed any contract, nor undertaken any project, yet they are sharing public money.This is a shame and national embarrassment.
If care is not taken, Nigeria may create a new record in the Guinness Book of Records as the most corrupt country in the world. Cameron should not be castigated for saying the obvious because he must have his facts before making his remarks. You know that these looted funds are kept in foreign accounts and these foreign leaders know the nationalities of the people involved, and majority of them are Nigerians.
Former Secretary-General, NUPENG
Yes, I agree with Cameron but I will prefer to put it this way, Nigeria was fantastically corrupt. With President Buhari in charge, the story is changing. Buhari is making a difference by waging a frontal war against corruption, and I believe all Nigerians should support him. Cameron hit the nail on the head. How do you describe these looters who have done a lot of damage to our economy by stealing the country blind? These looters are enemies of the nation, and Cameron and some other world leaders know them and where they keep their loot. That must have prompted him to make that remark.
I believe that under Buhari, it is not going to be business as usual again. Since Buhari has declared war on these elements, we should help him to clean up Nigeria.
I give kudos to Cameron. He is 100 per cent correct. Nigerians should not misunderstand the man. I believe Cameron’s remark was targeted at the looters and the plunderers of our commonwealth. These are unpatriotic elements that have been stealing our money including some career civil servants and politicians who have no second address.
These are politicians who live on politics, they have no other visible career.These are politicians who have come to view public office as an avenue to loot rather than to serve.
These unpatriotic elements whom I always describe as scavengers keep foreign accounts running into billions of Dollars. This is stolen wealth. It is money stolen from Nigeria that they used to buy houses in London, New York, Paris and other places. These looters’ evil exploits are known to the British and American authorities including other notable world leaders. So, why won’t Cameron describe Nigeria as being fantastically corrupt? My own take is that since we now have Buhari at the helm of affairs, a man determined to create a new order, let’s support him, let’s support him to fight these scavengers.
AKIN ONIGBINDE (SAN),
Former Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly:
I think it is good that we are getting an idea of the perception of other world leaders about Nigeria. The British Prime Minister obviously didn’t intend to make it a press conference. But, the world has become an open space that includes the chamber of the Queen. However, it is good that the ArchBishop was able to make a distinction between Nigeria the corrupt and Buhari, the fighter. So, if we accept what he said, we must be humble enough to equally accept Cameron’s comment. I don’t see it as judgmental, I think he’s just stating what is public knowledge, going by our position on the Transparency International corruption index. So, it’s not just a question of perception, he’s speaking about reality.
But, it’s hypocrisy, I think, because Britain itself is part of the countries that condone corruption by harbouring treasury looters from other countries.
But, we need to face the fact that corruption is soiling our reputation. We must, therefore, do all that is possible to check it.
SENATOR LEKAN BALOGUN,
Former Chairman, Senate Committee on National Planning and Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland:
He (Cameron) is talking absolute nonsense. From colonial time to the neocolonial, Britain has always been a leader in promoting corruption. Britain laid the foundation of corruption during our colonial experience, so it is double standard to be promoting corruption and accuse others of corruption. Britain should, therefore, be the last to accuse Nigeria of corruption.
Former Ogun State Commissioner for Information and Strategy and politician:
Well, I don’t see what Cameron said as any deviation from what our own President Buhari has been going round the world to say about the country. It is just an echo of what Buhari has said all along to portray the country particularly during his last visit to the same UK. Before this one, in which he described Nigerians as criminals or having criminal tendency, so, the PM’s remark should really not be isolated.
The fact is that there is no country in the world without corruption, but you don’t go out running down your own country even in the worst manner as the President has done.
Chairman, APC, Lagos State
I’m very sure that before Cameron made that remark, he would have done his homework very well. He would have received detailed information and intelligence reports about corruption and corrupt people in Nigeria.
Look at the last 16 years in Nigeria, look at the monumental corruption that took place when PDP was in power. Look at all the sordid revelations coming out now. How billions and even trillions of Naira were stolen. They are mind-boggling. No wonder some people have described the last 16 years of PDP as years of the locusts.
Cameron has told us the home truth, although truth as they say is bitter. However, we should thank God that we now have a government in place that is determined to fight corruption. It is sad that these looters have been on the looting spree for so long that their nefarious activities have affected our economy badly, but we are lucky to have in place now, a redemptive administration under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, a man who has zero tolerance for corruption.
Former President, Trade Union Congress,TUC
Nigerians are great and wonderful people. They are loving and kind. They are also resilient. I believe that Cameron, in his remarks was referring to the looters, and not the generality of our people. Not all Nigerians are corrupt. We still have men and women of honour who are highly principled and well respected all over the world. I believe Cameron’s perception of Nigeria will gradually change with the posture of the new administration under Buhari who has vowed to tame corruption.
Chairman,Christian Association Of Nigeria, South-West
It is true corruption has become a hydra-headed monster in Nigeria, and almost everybody have agreed on the need to address it. While corruption is prevalent in the country, I will not, however, agree with the notion that all Nigerians are corrupt. Agreed, a lot of looting and plundering of our commonwealth especially oil money has been going on for years,I believe the situation is not beyond being salvaged. I have positive feeling that shortly under this present Buhari leadership, other countries, especially the Western nations will know that it is no longer business as usual in Nigeria. A new dawn has arrived and I believe Nigerians should key into Buhari’s anti-corruption campaign. He was there before as Nigeria’s Head of State under a military government and we all knew how he fought corruption. I believe his promise again to tackle this vice this time, as a civilian President.
If there is any other word Cameron can use, I will welcome it. Corruption has done a lot of damage to Nigeria’s image. It is sad and unfortunate that millions of Nigerians are wallowing in poverty amid surplus. Only a few privileged individuals are looting and sharing the nation’s resources.The situation can’t continue like this. Since Buhari has promised to fight corruption and corrupt people, let’s not only support, but also pray for him to succeed.
–‘YINKA FABOWALE AND ‘TUNDE THOMAS