The reported comment attributed to the Prime Minister of UK, Mr. David Cameron, that Nigeria is ‘fantastically corrupt’ as the International Conference on Anti-corruption is going on has divided the opinion of Nigerians with some calling for head of the UK PM and vilifying him for speaking the obvious!
The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL is towing a different line on this and takes the position that Mr. Cameron’s comment stems from the reality that Nigeria is indeed profoundly corrupt which justifies the fierce fight the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government is prosecuting against corruption.
We view the comment not as an attack on Nigeria or the President, but as an honest comment on the corrupt system that have subsisted and characterized even several regimes before the present administration in Nigeria. The fact is that the UK has even been more helpful than harmful in the fight against corruption in the country. For instance, it took the UK to be able to make James Ibori to answer for some of his very outrageous corruption crimes against the background of him having escaped about 171 charges of corruption in Nigeria by maneuvering through the judicial system.
The immediate past Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Allison Madueke is currently facing corruption charges in the UK, an individual who also was on the run from justice; a fugitive from justice in Britain, Diepreye Alamesiagha was granted state pardon in Nigeria, another fugitive from justice in the same Britain is spending his third term in the Senate and we think Mr. Cameron is ‘insulting’ us?!
CACOL sees Cameron’s assessment as being informed by what had happened in Nigeria in the past; events in the past such as the Halliburton and Siemens scandals, the police pension scam, the power project scam, the Security and Exchange Commission scam and others. legislating for good people of Nigeria? Is not fantastic that an ex-convict in Britain came back to Nigeria to become a powerful governor? Is it not fantastic that the same man is now back in Britain as a guest of her majesty over similar corruption charges he had been discharged and acquitted in Nigeria?
Rather than whimpering and engaging in hypocritical patriotism, Nigerians should introspect and confront the reality of how badly corruption has eaten into the fabric of our National life. We cannot afford to be hiding behind a finger, covering our faces when our behinds are in the full glare of the world, which would amount to nothing but plain absurdity!
While acknowledging the somewhat sarcastic statement of the UK PM and understanding the context, CACOL’s response is to draw the attention of the UK and its Prime Minister to some cogent issues on the anti-corruption drive in Nigeria as they have to do with the United Kingdom and other countries at the anti-corruption conference beyond trivialities and ‘mocking’.
First, we call on the United Kingdom as host of the ongoing international anti-corruption conference and other World Leaders at the ongoing anti-corruption conference to extract a commitment from President Muhammadu Buhari to re-open and resume of action on the Halliburton and Siemens bribery scandals that indicted several former Heads of Nigerian government, some of their spouses and other prominent leaders in Nigeria with a view of bringing the culpable among them to book.
The United Kingdom and other participating countries should as a matter of urgency play similar roles that Germany and others countries linked with international scams that have helped exposed those involved and even applied punitive against their nationals that were collaborators in the scam.
The re-opening and resumption of activities on the Halliburton and Siemens bribery scandals with the aim of bringing those culpable in the bribery and money laundering scandals to book is very imperative to proving the anti-corruption war being led by President Buhari to be profound enough.
The background to the Halliburton and Siemens scandal to remind all, is about a reported settlement agreement with reached the federal government November 22, 2010, under which Siemens will pay 7 billion Nigerian Naira (approx. $46.5 million) to the Nigerian Government in exchange for the EFCC dropping charges against Siemens AG, Siemens Nig Ltd and four of its officers. The settlement payment was variously described as “restitution” and “disgorgement”.
In connection with the TSKJ/Bonny Island bribery matter, on November 25, 2010, it was reported that the EFCC arrested ten Halliburton employees in Nigeria during a raid of the offices of Halliburton Energy Services Nigeria Limited in Lagos, as well as one employee each from Saipem Contracting Nigeria and Technip Offshore Nigeria. On December 7, 2010, the EFCC reportedly filed corruption charges against Halliburton, former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney (who was the CEO of Halliburton during the period at issue), Albert Stanley (former CEO of KBR), David Lesar (current CEO of Halliburton) and William Utt (current CEO of KBR). Technip, Snamprogetti and JGC Corporation were reportedly also charged on the same day. The case reference was Federal Republic of Nigeria v. Halliburton and others, CV/435/10, High Court of Justice, Abuja Judicial Division (Abuja).
We call on World leaders at the conference particularly countries where loots stolen from Nigeria are being stashed help facilitate the repatriating the loots. We urge other countries to be proactive by emulating the UK in helping Nigeria fight corruption as demonstrated in the manner the Dipreye, Ibori, Diezani and others’ cases were handled and are being handled.
“Name, Nail, Shame and Shun Corrupt Leaders Anywhere, Everywhere”.
Executive Chairman, CACOL
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