President Muhammadu Buhari says he will not ask for an apology from the British Prime Minister for the unpleasant remarks made against Nigeria, but would rather that Nigeria’s stolen funds stashed abroad are returned.
The president while speaking at a meeting hosted by the Commonwealth in London ahead of the anti-corruption summit, said “I’m not going to demand any apology. All I demand is a return of assets. What would I do with apology?”
According to him, “I have already mentioned how disgraceful one of the Nigerian executive dressed as a woman to leave Britain, leaving behind his bank account and fixed asset, which Britain is prepared to hand over to us, this is what I’m asking for. What will I do with apology? I need something tangible.”
He stated that in Nigeria, 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”, he said.
He therefore called 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 continued, “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 enabled oil theft to take place on a massive scale.
“Some of us in this hall may be familiar with the Report released by Chatham House, here in London, in 2013, titled “Nigeria’s Criminal Crude: International Options to Combat the Export of Stolen Oil.” The important findings of the Chatham House document are illuminating and troubling. Part of the Report concluded that:
“Nigerian crude oil is being stolen on an industrial scale and exported, with the proceeds laundered through world financial centres by transnational organized criminals.
“ It is clear therefore, that the menace of oil theft, put at over 150,000 barrels per day, is a criminal enterprise involving internal and external perpetrators. 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.
“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,” Buhari said.
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