Leading anti-corruption group, Transparency International, on Tuesday rose strongly in defence of Nigeria as a country that is making strong effort in the fight against corruption.
The organisation also suggested that a statement by the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, was hypocritical.
Cobus de Swardt, T.I.’s Managing Director, in his response to Mr. Cameron’s video, in which the British leader described Nigeria and Afghanistan as “fantastically corrupt”, said the UK was actually the country that is “a big part of the world’s corruption problem.”
“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.
“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,” Mr. de Swardt said.
Nigeria currently ranks 136 of 168 countries and territories ranked in T.I.’s Corruption Perception Index for the year 2015.
Mr. Cameron was caught on camera ridiculing Nigeria as a “fantastically corrupt” country on Tuesday afternoon.
Nigeria promptly rejected that description, saying it found Mr. Cameron’s comment “embarrassing.”
“This is embarrassing to us to say the least, given the good work that the President is doing,” President Muhammadu Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media, Garba Shehu, said shortly after the news of the Prime Minister’s comment went viral on the Internet.
“The Prime Minister must be looking at an old snapshot of Nigeria. Things are changing with corruption and everything else.”
Mr. Cameron’s comment was published just as President Muhammadu Buhari departed Nigeria Tuesday to attend an anti-corruption summit organised by the UK government to be held in London on Thursday.
Mr. Cameron was briefing the Queen on the notoriety of countries expected to attend the summit during an event at the Buckingham Palace to celebrate the monarch’s 90th birthday, ITV News reported.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, however, said Mr. Buhari was not a corrupt person.
“But this particular president is actually not corrupt,” the religious leader said. “Oh yes, he’s trying very hard this one.”