The British media and their development communication experts care less about exposing the role their leaders in collaboration with their institutions play in assisting the transfer of huge illicit funds from Nigeria and other African states to the UK. This is even as they are happy to glamorize and show the world how African leaders are corrupt, and often downplay the role of UK institutions and individuals in making laundering funds from Africa a success.
In justifying corruption among African leaders, Mr. David Cameron, a former Britain Prime Minsters described Nigerian leaders as fantastically corrupt before Queen Elizabeth II. He made such a statement in preparation for the invitation of African leaders to attend an anti-corruption summit.
Mr. Cameron’s comment that Nigerian leaders are fantastically corrupt is very correct, but the hypocrisy in his comment is that he failed to acknowledge that Nigerian leaders would not have looted their country dry without the conspiracy of UK institutions.
The response by Mr. Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigeria President to Cameron’s comment appears to be very appropriate. For Buhari, he did not want any apology from Mr. Cameron for describing Nigerian politicians as corrupt, he demanded that Mr. Cameron and the UK return all loots from Nigeria back to the country. A demand Cameron and UK have since ignored.
In confirmation of how the UK role has since become an obstacle to Nigeria’s development, Mr. Matthew Page, an associate fellow of Chatham House, London, U.K. in a paper titled ‘IFFs through the real estate and education sectors, disclosed that Nigerian politicians own 800 properties worth $400m in London, Dubai. An amount he said was taken out of the country through illicit financial flow using real estate and education sectors as enabling covers.
The Panama Papers show how top Nigerian politicians diverted public resources to purchase expensive houses in London. For instance, Mr. Bukola Saraki, a former Senate President purchased a $5.7 million property in London’s Belgravia area using his wife’s name.
Mrs. Diezani Madueke, a former Nigeria Petroleum Minister who is standing trial over money laundering worth billions of dollars committed during her time in the office has since found a comfortable abode in the UK with the British government reported to have denied her repatriation demand from the Nigerian government to face trial.
According to the War on Want 2016 Report, “101 companies listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), most British, have mining operations in 37 sub-Saharan African countries. They collectively control over $1 trillion worth of Africa’s most valuable resources. The UK government has used its power and influence to ensure that British mining companies have access to Africa’s raw materials. This was the case during the colonial period and is still the case today.”
Nowhere has the UK and its allies played a prominent role in laundering Nigeria’s resources and that of other African nations like the natural resources management and control.
The role of Shell, a UK-based transnational corporation in the extractive sector transaction in Nigeria, clearly shows their interest is purely naked capitalist venture vested in profit-making maximization with the host community left to rot in anguish and pain.
What weakens the mind is how a country that has disguised itself to support anti-corruption interventions in Nigeria through the use of Department for International Development (DFID) and other means has supervised and aided this king of magnitude of corruption in Nigeria. This deserves an immediate answer.
Unfortunately, with the instrumentality of international economic relations that has since become a springboard for the consolidation of capitalism and global economic crime and sabotage, the laundering of Nigeria’s resources is likely to continue eternally with the poor who are supposed to be the beneficiaries of natural resources denied a better life, forcing them to face poverty and hunger.
To address the way the UK, other European countries, and North America have played roles in laundering natural resource benefits out of Nigeria and other African states, the North–South dialogue on resource management, control and balance of development must immediately change.
And in that discussion, the world should begin to adopt natural resource rent socialization as a model for development. In that way, monies from natural resources will be for the benefit of all as against the few bourgeoisie that has hijacked communal resources in the guise of capitalism and economic liberalization.
When that happens, communities in Africa that have been subjected to suffering as a result of mining activities controlled by UK and Chinese companies, land grab, and estate development under the disguise of foreign investors will be better. They will benefit from their resources, which will only happen under natural resource rent socialization. Also, revenues from land will be utilized in providing infrastructure for the poor through the instrumentality of Land Value Capture.
We are worried that even as Nigeria and other African states bleed and suffer under Britain’s entrenched imperialism, the UK media is suppressing conversation and reports on the role played by British institutions to steal and launder African resources.
Audu Liberty Oseni
MAWA – Foundation Coordinator