A video with critical comments by Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron that Nigeria and Afghanistan are “fantastically corrupt” countries have caused quite a stir on social media and the remarks have been criticised by Nigeria.
In the video, Cameron is seen talking to the Queen, in the company of the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and he is heard saying [transcript]: “We’ve got some leaders of some fantastically corrupt countries coming to Britain… Nigeria and Afghanistan, possibly the two most corrupt countries in the world”.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby tries to defend Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts saying, “But this particular president is not actually corrupt… he’s trying very hard”.
While corruption is a major problem in Nigeria, President Buhari’s administration has been fighting the scourge. Responding to the comments, Presidential Spokesperson Garba Shehu wrote on Twitter: “This is embarrassing to us…”, “…[but] I’m glad to inform you that the tides are changing, @NGRPresident is doing much in prosecuting corruption cases in Nigeria”.
— Bashir Ahmad (@BashirAhmaad) May 10, 2016
In its 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index, Transparency International ranked Nigeria 136, while Afghanistan was ranked at 166.
In response to PM Cameron’s remarks, Cobus de Swardt, Managing Director of Transparency International said: “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”.
Buhari’s controversial comments on the reputation of Nigerians abroad
While the British Prime Minister continues to be criticised for his remarks, interestingly, early this year, President Buhari made some strong comments that Nigerians have a bad reputation abroad, but noted “we are on our way to salvage that”.
Responding to Buhari’s comments, Shehu reportedly noted, “there are also Nigerians giving their country a bad image abroad, and it is to those Nigerians that the president referred in his comments”.
Buhari is on record making declarations to take a tough stance on corruption, in an attempt to change the country’s image but it remains to be seen if the country will ever shake off this reputation.