After David Cameron described Nigeria and Afghanistan as “fantastically corrupt” in a conversation with the Queen (Read Here).
President Muhammadu Buhari has said he is not interested in any apology from British Prime Minister David Cameron over the comments but he rather wants to UK to help return the Nigeria’s stolen cash.
Fielding questions from reporters at a Commonwealth event in London where he delivered a keynote address on corruption, Buhari said: “I am not going to be demanding any apology from anybody. What I will be demanding is the return of assets.
Watch: Buhari agrees with Cameron that Nigeria is “fantastically corrupt”, wants no apology but stolen corrupt money back:
“I have already mentioned how Britain led and how disgraceful one of Nigeria’s executives was. He had to dress like a woman to leave Britain and left behind his bank account and fixed assets which Britain is prepared to hand over to us.
“This is what I am asking for. What will I do with an apology? I need something tangible.”
Delivering the keynote address, at the event, which is a prelude to today’s anti-corruption summit in London, Buhari also called for the support of the international community to prosecute questionable Nigerians living abroad.
He said: “I admit that there are a few cases where apparently stringent rules have been applied as a result of threats to national security and the likelihood that certain persons may escape from the country or seek to undermine the stability of Nigeria. It is for this reason that we are seeking the support of many countries for the prosecution of certain individuals residing in their jurisdictions.
“Of course we will provide the necessary legal documents and whatever mutual assistance is required to secure conviction of such individuals, as well as facilitate the repatriation of our stolen assets.”
Buhari also urged the international community to support repatriation of stolen assets to countries of origin.
According to him, delaying repatriation of stolen assets is against the provisions of the United Nations Convention.
He said: “Unfortunately, our experience has been that repatriation of corruption proceeds is very tedious, time consuming, costly and entails more than just the signing of bilateral or multilateral agreements.
“This should not be the case as there are provisions in the appropriate United Nations Convention that require countries to return assets to countries from where it is proven that they were illegitimately acquired.
“Further, we are favourably disposed to forging strategic partnerships with governments, civil society organizations, organized private sector and international organizations to combat corruption.
“Our sad national experience had been that domestic perpetrators of corrupt practices do often work hand-in-hand with international criminal cartels.
“This evil practice is manifested in the plundering and stealing of public funds, which are then transferred abroad into secret accounts. I therefore, call for the establishment of an international anti-corruption infrastructure that will monitor, trace and facilitate the return of such assets to their countries of origin.
“It is important to stress that the repatriation of identified stolen funds should be done without delay or preconditions,” he added
Buhari also called for designation of oil theft as an international crime.
He said: “In addition to the looting of public funds, Nigeria is also confronted with illegal activities in the oil sector, the mainstay of our export economy. That this industry has been enmeshed in corruption with the participation of the staff of some of the oil companies is well established. Their participation enables oil theft to take place on a massive scale.
Stressing that the menace of oil theft of over 150,000 barrels per day is a criminal enterprise, he said it involves internal and external perpetrators.
He said: “Illicit oil cargoes and their proceeds move across international borders. Opaque and murky as these illegal transactions may be, they are certainly traceable and can be acted upon, if all governments show the required political will.
“This will has been the missing link in the international efforts hitherto. Now in London, we can turn a new page by creating a multi-state and multi-stakeholder partnership to address this menace.
“We, therefore, call on the international community to designate oil theft as an international crime similar to the trade in “blood diamonds”, as it constitutes an imminent and credible threat to the economy and stability of oil-producing countries like Nigeria. The critical stakeholders here present can lead the charge in this regard,” he said.
The president recalled that “In 2003, when the world came together to sign the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) that entered into force in 2005, it was with a view to tackling the growing threat that corruption had become to many nations. Little did we know that eleven years since then, the problem would still continue unabated, but even become more intractable and cancerous.
“Permit me to share with you our national experience in combating corruption. I intend to do this by placing the fight against corruption in Nigeria within the context of the three priority programmes of our Administration. On assumption of office on 29th May 2015, we identified as our main focus three key priority programmes. They are, combating insecurity, tackling corruption and job creation through re-structuring the declining national economy.”