The Presidency has described the comment made by British Prime Minister David Cameron describing Nigeria as fanatically corrupt as “embarrassing”.
The Senior Special Assistant on Media and publicity to the President, Mallam Garba Shehu, said: “This is embarrassing to us, to say the least, given the good work that the President is doing
“The eyes of the world are on what is happening here.”
He argued that the “Prime Minister must be looking at an old snapshot of Nigeria. “Things are changing with corruption and everything else.”
Shehu, however, welcomed the remarks by the Archbishop of Canterbury who said President Buhari is not corrupt.
“Thank you to the Archbishop. We have great admiration for the good relationship between our two countries,” he added.
Transparency International, an international anti-corruption watchdog, also rose in Nigeria’s defence, blaming the UK and its overseas outposts for encouraging corruption.
Its Managing Director Cobus de Swardt said: “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.”
According to the Press Association, asked whether Cameron regretted his comment, a Downing Street spokesman said: “Both leaders of ( Nigeria and Afghanistan) have been invited to the summit because they are driving the fight against corruption in their countries. The UK stands shoulder to shoulder with them as they do so.”
The spokesman declined to say whether the two countries had contacted Downing Street following the Cameron’s remark
He, however, said that Cameron was aware that he was being filmed when he made the comment. “The cameras were very close to him. There were multiple cameras in the room.”
The Prime Minister made the remark during a visit to mark Queen Elizabeth's 90th birthday in London