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I Won’t Demand Apology from Cameron; I Need Return of Assets – Buhari

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Buhari Corruption ConferencePresident Muhammadu Buhari has said that he is not going to demand an apology from David Cameron over his comments on Nigeria being a “fantastically corrupt” country.

He made the statement in London at the Commonwealth event themed “Tackling Corruption Together: A Conference for Civil Society, Business, and Government Leaders”.

This is coming after the Presidency had described Cameron’s statement as “embarrassing”, and that things are changing with regard to corruption and everything else in the country. Click here if you missed it.

According to a tweet by Buhari’s Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Femi Adesina, the President said:

I’m not going to demand any apology. All I’ll demand is return of assets. What would I do with apology? I need something tangible.

Here are highlights of the President’s speech:

  1. Corruption is a hydra-headed monster and a cankerworm that undermines the fabric of all societies. It does not differentiate between developed and developing countries. It constitutes a serious threat to good governance, rule of law, peace and security, as well as development programmes aimed at tackling poverty and economic backwardness.
  2. On assumption of office on 29th May 2015, we identified as our main focus three key priority programmes. They are, combating insecurity, tackling corruption and job creation through re-structuring the declining national economy.
  3. Our starting point as an Administration was to amply demonstrate zero tolerance for corrupt practices as this vice is largely responsible for the social and economic problems our country faces today.
  4. Tackling the menace of corruption is not an easy task, but it is possible even if many feathers have to be ruffled.
  5. Today, our frontline anti-corruption agencies, namely, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC), the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), have become revitalised and more proactive in the pursuit of perpetrators of corrupt practices, irrespective of their social status and political persuasion.
  6. We have implemented the Treasury Single Account (TSA) whereby all Federal government revenue goes into one account. This measure would make it impossible for public officers to divert public funds to private accounts as was the practice before.
  7. We are also reviewing our anti-corruption laws and have developed a national anti-corruption strategy document that will guide our policies in the next three years, and possibly beyond.
  8. I am not unaware of the challenges of fighting corruption in a manner consistent with respect for human rights and the rule of law. I am committed to applying the rule of law and to respecting human rights. I also require our security agencies to do the same.
  9. I admit that there are a few cases where apparently stringent rules have been applied as a result of threats to national security and the likelihood that certain persons may escape from the country or seek to undermine the stability of Nigeria. It is for this reason that we are seeking the support of many countries for the prosecution of certain individuals residing in their jurisdictions.
  10. Unfortunately, our experience has been that repatriation of corrupt proceeds is very tedious, time consuming, costly and entails more than just the signing of bilateral or multilateral agreements.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. By the end of our summit tomorrow, we should be able to agree on a rules-based architecture to combat corruption in all its forms and manifestations.
  15. A main component of this anti-corruption partnership is that governments must demonstrate unquestionable political will and commitment to the fight. The private sector must come clean and be transparent, and civil society, while keeping a watch on all stakeholders, must act and report with a sense of responsibility and objectivity.
  16. For our part, Nigeria is committed to signing the Open Government Partnership initiatives alongside Prime Minister Cameron during the Summit tomorrow.

You can read the full speech HERE.

Photo Credit: Presidency

40 Comments

  1. ElessarisElendil

    May 11, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    Have a problem with 12 and 13. That’s just Nigeria’s fault for being weak! Blood diamonds are considered criminal because they are mined by slave labour, oil theft is simply the result of sheer incompetence.

    Find the thieves, hang the lot.

    • Kadara

      May 11, 2016 at 1:20 pm

      Great response, he has also shown by those words that the UK is also complicit by allowing people to bring stolen money to their country since it benefits their economy . What we need is our money back not an apology for something that’s essentially true

    • Elle

      May 11, 2016 at 4:47 pm

      Thank you. Meanwhile for ordinary Nigerians resident in UK, to open bank account is wahala, not a small thing, bring this document, proof of that, proof of this, but politicians’ stolen loots they will conveniently turn the blind eye. Awon ole buruku. That is why I do not pity them when these Islamists start dealing with them, because that is how they go all over the place meddling into other countries’ affairs, upsetting their govts.

      Just few days ago, I was reading about how the Belgian govt was complicit in the death of Patrice Lumumba, a Congolese freedom fighter. Need I also mention MKO Abiola and Susan Rice. Their judgment shall surely come soon, these wicked western nations that never want the African countries to progress.

    • CovertNigerian

      May 11, 2016 at 1:30 pm

      Actually, they were called blood diamonds because proceeds from illegally mined diamonds were used to pay for civil wars in places like Sierra Leone and the DRC that cause numerous deaths, hence the blood spilling. The analogy is quite apt when you consider that illegally sourced oil is used to pay for weapons that pay for violence in the Niger Delta and beyond.
      Primary responsibility is ours and our government’s but the trade amounts to trading in stolen property which is clearly a crime.
      There is also slight precedence in the fact that international navies blocked a tanker from leaving Libya with an oil cargo that was not approved by the internationally recognised government at the time. Clearly we should not expect foreign navies to secure our waters but there is a clear case to be made for the fact that once our oil gets outside our jurisdiction illegally, there should be a system for tracking and punishing the buyers.

    • ElessarisElendil

      May 11, 2016 at 1:57 pm

      True, although I would argue the outrage was due to images of child labour and hacked off limbs. The civil wars of Angola for example was simply the cold war fought on the continent, yet surprisingly little outrage.

      The problem outsourcing our naval defence causes, sovereignty issues aside is enforcement. I had read that the top buyers of our stolen crude are in the Balkans, those could be dealt with relatively simply on the high seas but what about those within Nigeria. Our land borders are notoriously prone to smuggling, so what does a climb-down in the international sphere by begging America or Britain to guard our waters get us when they simply move their product overland?? Personally, I’d advocate killing two birds with one stone, overhaul our military and protect our resources ourselves. Look at all the illegally mined gold leaving the country for example, do we invite them to come defend our lands too?

      ” there should be a system for tracking and punishing the buyers.”: Who’s paying for this system, I know we can’t afford it and call me cynical but isn’t stolen crude sold below market prices part of the underlying cause of low oil prices? Why would they help enforce a system that drives up costs for them???

    • CovertNigerian

      May 11, 2016 at 3:27 pm

      @ElessarisElendil

      (1) No one is exporting crude oil across land borders. Refined petroleum products? yes but not crude oil

      (2) No Nigerian government official has ever asked for foreign navies to help secure our waters and I definitely didn’t imply that we should.

      (3) Even something as simple as agreeing to new global standards in reporting and tracking oil sales could by shippers and receiving refineries could be a step in the direction the Nigerian government is advocating.
      Off the top of my head, costs can be covered, at least in part, by a small fee imposed on oil tankers as they lift oil from producing countries and then passed through the supply chain. Obviously, more careful thought would have to be given to properly answering this question.

      (4) “Why would they help enforce a system that drives up costs for them???”

      Drives costs up for who exactly? Any costs saved from buying cheaper stolen oil is almost certainly not reflected in pump prices paid by consumers, which is based on official international oil prices. It just translates to larger profits for a few criminals. Besides, stolen oil probably forms a small portion of any one country’s total oil imports so actual cost to their economies won’t change much if stolen crude is blocked.

      Clearly privately owned refineries and business benefiting from the current system won’t volunteer for such a scheme but from the perspective of the UN or on a government to government basis, a stable Nigeria, Libya or any other country with a similar problem is cheaper for the world than the alternative.

      (5) I don’t know about there being little outrage, but the reaction to Angola’s war was different because the crimes were different. UNITA did not go around hacking off people’s limbs for instance.

    • ElessarisElendil

      May 12, 2016 at 1:26 am

      ???

      I left this thread better off, thank you CovertNigerian.

    • Damilola

      May 11, 2016 at 2:19 pm

      Great response. No need for apology, he said his mind already. Apology won’t change his opinion neither does it take the truth away from the serious corruption that has overtaken Nigeria since independence. Imagine, since independence not much to show that Nigerians are capable of governing themselves, it’s one corrupt government after the other. No need to fight back and be defensive, our action is what we speak louder.

    • just bored

      May 11, 2016 at 2:47 pm

      Blood diamond is same as conflict diamond. Blood diamond is a term used for a diamond mined in a war zone and sold to finance an insurgency, an invading army’s war efforts, or a warlord’s activity.

  2. Ethio

    May 11, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    does he have the moral justification to demand apologies? accept this as your truth and vow to truly change that image not just through witchhunting and the media

  3. Engoz

    May 11, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    Good response. Instead of being on the defensive and ranting over whether Nigeria is corrupt or not (of which the president and every sincere Nigerian is privy to that Nigeria is indeed corrupt) he changed the argument to an attack rather than defense. Good tactic! Me likey!

    • Fani

      May 11, 2016 at 1:41 pm

      @Engoz, mistakenly liked your comment. Bella naija pls we should be able to unlike a post, too many accidental likes abeg

    • Engoz

      May 11, 2016 at 3:16 pm

      Pray tell, what on earth should I do with this information?

    • Tunmi

      May 11, 2016 at 4:30 pm

      Yep, I agree. Keep your apology, give me the assets that are helping enrich your economy

  4. Ethio

    May 11, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    and by witch hunting i meant probing the looters, using the returned loot to work on tangible projects that the masses can see, commend and benefit from… not probing your enemies while the patron saint of looters is busy flashing his ugly face upandan and posing for selfies with you

  5. beauty

    May 11, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    Pres. Buhari, please stop bantering words here. Face your country with all your might and then hopefully a ray of light would turn on at the end of this gory tunnel. May 2015 fuel scarcity, May 2016 fuel scarcity, May 2017 bicycle bloom then ?

  6. olorire

    May 11, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    valid point by the president. there is no need to demand any apology because cameron is right! but he should help fast track return of stolen funds

  7. Slim Babe

    May 11, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    Wow! This is good news for Nigerians, i hope Buhari will learn from this and sit at home to do his home assignment that he was voted for.

  8. Cheekie

    May 11, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    Well said Buhari, even if Cameron apologizes it doesn’t change anything. The whole world has seen and heard what he said already..Lets focus on the fight against corruption, our president is doing his best to tackle this issue. Time for Mr Cameron to work with Buhari in returning all stolen assets in the Uk,as opposed to making politically incorrect statements.
    2 most corrupt countries in the world,really! I doubt that David,we are corrupt yes, but haba give us a break.

  9. concerned9ja

    May 11, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    Ask yourselves why have British press been running articles about Buhari and Nigeria since last week…could be because he is turning the heat on Britain to retrn the funds…just think for a minute.
    These Europeans leaders just don’t throw statements about nilly willy…
    Why write about Buhari’s daughter studying in the UK..are you telling me Buhari cannot afford it?….when some average Nigerian families I know can even members of my own family…

  10. Benson Ossai

    May 11, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    Mr Cameroooooon we all know that some leaders are very corrupt in Nigeria but i think our allies have not done enough to stem the trade.Most of the looted funds taken from Nigeria and Africa are being stashed abroad.I think it is high time these foreign countries begin to put in measures that becomes very difficult to hide stolen wealth in their domain.Begin to name and shame these looters.Until that is done, i will continue to think that they are helping these criminals to destroy Nigeria and our continent.

  11. Wanderlust _Trekeffect

    May 11, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    I feel sorry for those running their mouths saying stuff like” are we not corrupt?” Really? Inferiority complex at its peak is all I see.
    Maybe you need to review the latest listing of most corrupt countries in the world for you to realise that Nigeria doesn’t even fall in top 10.

    I have noticed one thing about Nigerians even those outside of Nigeria, they would publicly and shamelessly degrade their country to foreigners forgetting that people will never forget, and despite the fact that you may not be in your country anymore they will always relate it to you so their disgrace is your disgrace.

    The first and last time a bunch of ignorant folks tried to school me on corruption in Nigeria I sat them down and showed them the numerous scam mails I receive DAILY from their country men and that was the last I heard of it. We ended on a truce that most countries are corrupt but some are better at concealing it.

    If you constantly degrade Nigeria for being corrupt then it is you who is corrupt, the leader is only a reflection of the people.

    David Cameron had no right or moral ground to say what he did, it is downright RUDE and uncouth as a Prime Minster to make such claims, and if he has any decency left he will apologise for that statement.

    As for Nigerians, keep shaming yourselves and later cry wolf when foreigners treat y’all like the pig you claim to be.
    The fact that my child is deformed does not give my neighbor the right to make a joke of it.

    • ogeAdiro

      May 11, 2016 at 3:32 pm

      Blessings upon blessings upon blessings! I don tire for Nigerians. Cameron can say anything he wants but I just no understand this Nigerian willingness to chop insult from foreigners. If it was Yoruba that said “Igbos are fantastically corrupt,” the Igbo voltrons will start jumping up. Igbo says “Yorubas are fantastically corrupt,” the Yoruba agberos will threaten armageddon. Then some idiot with british accent nwuru anwu will insult Nigeria and suddenly it’s the truth? Tufiakwa! The same people who cannot call a fat person FAT are suddenly the arbiters of truth? Anybody wey do us this thing, e no go better for am.

    • Wrong

      May 11, 2016 at 4:44 pm

      “I have noticed one thing about Nigerians even those outside of Nigeria, they would publicly and shamelessly degrade their country to foreigners forgetting that people will never forget.”

      I know you don’t travel out much if you can utter such a statement. I live abroad and I can tell you that that statement is false. If anything, Nigerians defend their country tooth and nail against all accusations levelled at us, to the point that other Africans consider us extremely arrogant.

      Also, the corruptions perception Index of 2015 ranks Nigeria in the 136th position in a survey of 167 countries. That we are not the last doesn’t not mean that we shouldn’t seek to improve our position and move up in the ranks. It’s people like you that stop the country from progressing. You would rather we conceal and put up a false pretence of a perfect country than accept the truth. There is nothing wrong in talking about the flaws of the country, It doesn’t mean that we don’t praise it in the same sentence. After all, every country has its good and bad side. People agreeing with David Cameron’s comment does not mean they are inferior, as several people said he was right, but also called him a hypocrite, as he is in no position to talk.

      When we can learn to stop sweeping things under the rug, can we then go about tackling the situation.

      Btw, your claim that the government is a reflection of its people is absolutely wrong in Nigeria’s case. If anything, corrupt Nigerians are simply mimicking the behaviour of those in power.

    • Wanderlust _Trekeffect

      May 11, 2016 at 9:40 pm

      Swet heart I have lived in US for 12 years
      See my name? Its because of my love for constant travel.
      Take a seat and let me tell you how it works kid.

    • Wrong

      May 12, 2016 at 1:57 pm

      Haha. You lived in the US for 12 years, do you think that makes you special.? There are people that have lived abroad their entire lives that are more patriotic than you are. I suppose you think the US is representative of abroad or do you not know what abroad means? And please, don’t try to patronize me by calling me a “kid” or “swet heart”. You claim to love travelling, but it’s obvious your “constant travel” has neither made you educated nor enlightened.

      Just because the circle you hung around with loved to condemn Nigeria, does not mean every Nigerian is like that. You ought to try hanging out with a different set of people and maybe you won’t be met with ignorance. Carrying on living in denial that Nigeria is not a corrupt state..

  12. Oku

    May 11, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    Kenyan’s demanded an apology and got one from CNN when they were described as a terrorist hotbed….
    PMB is a Lion at home pussy cat abroad …. Oya na a whole Army General allowing aa “bloody civilian” talk to him any how. Because …..# Guilty
    Just like Joro & Dotun still went for Toolz and Tunde’s wedding even after all the shade , that’s how PMB is “I must still go” #Mogbo Moya behaviour

  13. Tee

    May 11, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    @slimbabe “I hope PMB will learn and sit at home and do his home assignment that he was voted for”. Are you for real? You mean we should forget about the summit and Cameron and UK should keep the money. Since you don’t have anything meaningful to say about the importance of that summit, don’t you think it’s unnecessary to mark register here. Abi it’s hatred for PMB as usual cos previous presidents travelled too. SMH. At least he’s not flying with 114 people and staying in Dorchester with all of them. If you feel the summit isn’t Important to our beloved country. Pls carry megaphone and rant cos this is the first time we’re experiencing fuel scarcity as a nation and having problems with our economy; the obvious that some people refused to admit to until the last minute when CNN, CBN and the rest of the world confirmed.

  14. joyce

    May 11, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    pls tell them to also return the Benin art works they have in their museum they have been robbing us even before Nigeria’S INDEPENDENCE

    • Tunmi

      May 11, 2016 at 4:31 pm

      You know!!!! But it’s a bit chilly here so let me drink my milo jejely

  15. C'est moi

    May 11, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    Never saw Cameron’s comment as a slanderous sneer or the like. I heard and read it to mean it was a progressive and good thing that such ‘fantastically corrupt’ countries were coming for the summit – (“we’ve got the Nigerians coming”) because it means they are ready to change the status quo, and indeed the two countries mentioned – Nigeria & Afghanistan are making considerable moves to stem corruption.
    .
    .
    What exactly would be the point of an anti-corruption summit without the main perpetrators present to agree with any new remedial measures and procedures?
    Bragging we’ve got ‘fantastically corrupt’ countries coming was said in good cheer, as in we can make progress. Our president is there to hear, be heard and agree.
    .
    I like that he rebuffed an apology, what exactly would it do? He came for results and action not window dressing.

  16. Ibinabo

    May 11, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    #WORD! “I’m not going to demand any apology. All I’ll demand is return of assets. What would I do with apology? I need something tangible.” Loving this now.

  17. Yoyo

    May 11, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    No need to argue that we were insulted afterall in waffi before we fight we tear our rapper and show our breast becuse if we disgrace ourselves first no one else can shame us.In naija aluta style…”all we are saying give us our money back.” Britain is not corrupt but they can help corrupt politicians keep the money abi! Cameron papa we dey panama papers na saint abi?If his father was so good why did he forfeit his share of the fund after he became Britains PM? And if he had not been PM would he have forfieted his share?Lets be real corrupt people never leave money in their countries they take it to western countries and buy western businesses and properties with it. Buhari is no saint, in fact if we look in the mirror none of us are.But how dare that son of a thief call us fantastically corrupt?Britian that stole and pillaged countries for years in the name of “colonization” no corrupt abi? Naija don suffer for una hand.

  18. New dude

    May 11, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    Errm, I have been following Bella Naija comments for a while, but I do not comment coz most times, people are bickering over trivial matters. Glad to see that most of U are actually intelligent enough to digest this article and give commendable responses. Una try!

  19. Jamila

    May 11, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    OH MY GOD!!! Femi Adesina why are u TWISTING FACTS!!! anything to make the messiah believable….. Its really sad, especially whenthey misinform about something verifiable. You all need to go go and watch the BBC clips of when your dear president is questioned my reporters! Gosh!!
    Reporter: “President would you like to receive an apology from the prime minister”
    Buhari: “No, no, not at all”
    Reporter: “are you embarrassed by what he said?”
    Buhari: “No I am not”
    Reporter: “Is Nigeria fantastically corrupt?”
    Buhari: “Yes”
    Someone who looks like Mo Ibrahim then retorts “he just wants his money back, all the money in nigerian accounts he wants it back”
    Nigeria has a corruption problem as do many countries but When your Chief Markerter, your CEO goes around perpetuating stereotypes and further demarketing your country, theres a problem. Its funny how Mr Messiah beleives he is the only upright Nigerian so as long as he exonerates himself personally, all other citizens can go to hell….. What a shame

  20. Prince

    May 11, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    In my opinion, I think the UK is the most corrupt, having made their country a safe haven for the corrupt people in Nigeria and the rest of the world.
    Presently, Diezani is having a nice time in their country and many corrupt Nigerians also and with open arms the welcome them.
    Cameron disappointed me big time. You need to see the way the Queen was looking like him with that “Are you foolish’ kind of eyes.
    President Buhari, well done, we don’t need their apology, all we need is our money. we’ve gat lots of projects on ground.

  21. nene

    May 11, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    Buhari chop knuckle!

  22. NG

    May 11, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    Truth is he probably wont get an apology and so will miss out on the conference if getting one is made a condition for attendance. Will his absence affect the conference in any tangible way? I doubt it. So what to do? Smother the flame of your injured national pride and get your few minutes of ‘voice heard’.

    “8.I am not unaware of the challenges of fighting corruption in a manner consistent with respect for human rights and the rule of law. I am committed to applying the rule of law and to respecting human rights. I also require our security agencies to do the same.
    9.I admit that there are a few cases where apparently stringent rules have been applied as a result of threats to national security and the likelihood that certain persons may escape from the country or seek to undermine the stability of Nigeria. It is for this reason that we are seeking the support of many countries for the prosecution of certain individuals residing in their jurisdictions.”

    So long as the self-denial or attempt to hood-wink/ outright lie in 8 above is evident to the whole world, so long will the world see through the charade of the said fight against corruption and denigrate the symbol of that effort. Hit me on Halliburton sir. These people are not Nigerians you may fool. They know you are applying double standards because the rest of the world know that that is among the biggest sleaze of corruption by our leaders. Who is fooling who?

    On 9, the standard of the civilized world is not for a president to dictate to the judiciary and blatantly say on national tv that the executive will ensure that judicial actions are thwarted and like joke, months down the line, that is the reality. These are the factors that reinforce the perception of corruption, not just the fact of looted funds or not. Not the fact of Cameron’s father having offshore account either. At least there, we can be sure that the systems in place will be activated against whoever is running foul of the law of their land, how so with Naija? People came on BN and were wondering why the noise about the Nigerians mentioned in the Panama papers, saying after all it is legal to have offshore accounts. Which one now with Cameron’s father on the same issue? If it is legally wrong for papa Cameron, it is also wrong for Nigerian Panamanians, even if only morally wrong

  23. Halliru ahmad muhd

    May 14, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    We people of line akara we were joyous for rejected subsidy.beause we nigerian to develop by that waste of many lollies . We happy for muhd buhari president’s of nigerian thank for all supporters

  24. Proposer

    May 25, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    It’s been a wild respond , Any foreign country’s that accepted loots money to be saved in the country should be alleged assitance to a fraudulent . For example some countries like Germany , Saudi Arabia etc doesn’t accept a Alliens money to be saved in there country … Nigeria part of corruption are from the bank , sometimes the bank verify before credited any amount above million but now a days there’s nothing like verification … And this foreigners countries claims of been advance but even corrupt than Nigeria ..,,, u k should be alleged of been accepting loots money to be saved …

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