President Muhammadu Buhari who is currently in London has said he does not need any apology from the United Kingdom, but a return of all its stolen assets stashed away in Britain and its Crown territories.
Buhari said this in London at the Tackling Corruption Together Conference ahead of the International Anti-Corruption Summit to be hosted on Thursday by the British Prime Minister, David Cameron.
The president said this in less than 24 hours after the publication of a video which shows Cameron describing Nigeria and Afghanistan as the two most corrupt countries in the world.
In his words, “All I will demand is return of assets. What would I do with apology? I need something tangible. Unfortunately, repatriating stolen assets is tedious, time-consuming, costly. It entails more than just signing of bilateral agreements.”
Garba Shehu, Nigeria’s presidential spokesman, in an earlier response to Cameron’s comments said the country was embarrassed by the comments and noted that it did not reflect present realities.
Shehu in a message he shared on social media said, “This is embarrassing to us, to us say the least, given the good work that the President is doing. The eyes of the world are on what is happening here. The Prime Minister must be looking at an old snapshot of Nigeria. Things are changing with corruption and everything else”.
However, President Buhari has insisted that Nigeria is ready to partner with the UK in order to combat corruption while hoping that the two countries would be able to agree on rules-based architecture to combat corruption at the end of the Summit on Thursday.
He said: “I call for establishment of an anti-corruption infrastructure that will trace and return stolen assets to their countries of origin. Corruption does not differentiate between developed and developing countries. It is serious threat to good governance, peace and security”.
He also re-emphasised that his government’s zero tolerance for corruption is standing and would fight the ‘monster’, “even if many feathers would be ruffled.”