Came across this interesting headline in the UK based newspaper, The Daily Mail
‘Is Nigerian leader’s pal ‘fantastically corrupt’? Friend of African president accused of stealing £500million’
According to mail – “Rotimi Amaechi, who travelled with the [Nigerian] president Muhammadu Buhari to attend an anti-corruption summit in the UK, is Nigeria’s transport minister and is said to have bankrolled Buhari’s presidential campaign.
In the Nigerian press he has been dubbed ‘ATM’ – the American term for cash machine – because of his ability to produce vast sums of money at short notice. He remains in his post despite being accused of misappropriating £338million by a commission investigating the sale of state assets.”
The article goes on further to speculate in line with summit host Davaid Cameron’s gaffe about his ‘fantastically corrupt’ guests
“Some of that money is likely to have come from UK taxpayers, who gave the country £1billion in aid over five years to 2014, including £248million in 2014 alone. Separately, Amaechi is accused of diverting £140million of state funds into Buhari’s presidential campaign, with reports he paid for media, consultants and private jets.”
The Global leaders at the anti-corruption summit: British PM David Cameron (left) and Nigeria president, Muhammadu Buhari (right)
Rotimi Amechi has been accused of corruption while serving as the governor of one of Nigeria’s richest oil producing states. All indications point to this ex-governor having a case to answer. However is the looted funds from the state coffers of Nigeria, one of the leading oil producers or the ‘handouts’ to Nigeria from pockets of the British taxpayer? To claim that:
‘Some of that money is likely to have come from UK taxpayers, who gave the country £1billion in aid over five years to 2014, including £248million in 2014 alone’
is crass hypothesizing and irresponsible with no basis in fact. Based on the size of that country’s GDP as a major oil producer, albeit one with hopelessly mismanaged resources, nontheless a country operating on an economic scale where single individuals have been charged with misappropriating as much as $16billion in stride, from just one government agency within a shorter time spell than the speculated 5 years, to then suggest that $400m per annum in object tied aid was turned into cash and somehow got into the coffers of that country’s largest oil producing state with an annual budget in scores of billions is pure ignorance and smacks of intellectual arrogance.’ It gives the British taxpayer the misleading picture of floating a hapless dependent economy [on UK].
But is that really the case, considering that Nigeria has the largest economy on the African continent, a population somewhere south of 200million people and a major player in the global oil market. The former british colonies today count among the major trading partners with the UK, as a matter of fact, the Nigerian president responded to Cameron’s gaffe with a not too subtle reminder that a significant portion of his country’s loot is in the british banking system. Add the pre-eminent role of British interests such British Petroleum and Shell in the Nigeria’s economy and the history of commerce between these two countries, maybe the reverse of this arguement is more the case.