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UK Cameron’s Unsavory Comment On Nigeria – OpEd


British Prime Minister David Cameron has made an extremely impolite observation that Nigeria and Afghanistan are two of the “most corrupt “countries in the world. He was caught on camera making such observation to Queen Elizabeth just before the anti-corruption summit, for which Cameron was the host.

While such observation of David Cameron has been widely reported in the media, he has neither denied the report nor expressed any apology.

This is not the first time that David Cameron has made very adverse remarks about another country.

Several months back he visited Sri Lanka and spoke adversely about Sri Lankan government accused it of having indulged in human rights violation. He ignored the fact that Sri Lanka underwent an ethnic war and the rebels were extremely cruel in killing people and fighting against the Sri Lankan troop. The then Sri Lankan government had really no alternative other than fighting with the rebels to protect the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka. In the process, both the sides suffered enormously, many people were killed and innocent people suffered.

Without appreciating such realities David Cameron branded the Sri Lankan government as if it was totally inhuman.

In the past, British government has also indulged in several warfare. The recent ones are it’s participation in launching attack on Iraq and Afghanistan. Hundreds of people have been killed in both these countries by the action of the British and American troops. But, in such cases, David Cameron would claim that Britain was a liberator, while in the warfare in Sri Lanka, Sri Lankan government was branded by him as violator of human rights. Is it not hypocritical?

Obviously, David Cameron does not seem to exercise caution while moulding his thoughts and making observations on men and matters, which amount to unbecoming behavior for a person holding the position of Prime Minister of Britain.

While there is no doubt that huge corruption exist in Nigeria and the present President of Nigeria himself has admitted it on several occasions and won the election last year vowing to fight corruption, Britain is not the totally corruption free country. There are many skeletons in it’s cupboard which cannot be concealed.

Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister of UK, has been accused of being associated with financial links between a telecommunications company and his wife’s foundation, which is a corrupt practice. A Qatari-backed company, Ooredoo, which benefitted from Blair’s lobbying as representative of the Quartet for a mobile-telephone network for the Palestinian market, was reported to be a donor to the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women. Ooredoo was also reported to have had “partnerships” with Cherie Blair’s foundation in Indonesia and Burma.. What has David Cameron to say on this?

British Prime Minister David Cameron was himself accused of concealing about his personal wealth raised by his late father’s offshore fund, which was mentioned in the Panama Papers. Though he had denied this , many people think that his denial lack credibility.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has reacted to the unsavoury observations of David Cameron with dignity, saying that he was not demanding an apology from him. During his speech in anti-corruption summit in London, President of Nigeria observed correctly that he would only want the return of stolen assets to Nigeria.

If David Cameron was really concerned about corruption in other countries, he must first ensure that corruption would be totally eliminated in Britain and his government would fight against corruption at any cost.

In recent times, many rich business men and political leaders who had been accused of corrupt dealings in their own countries have run with all their wealth to United Kingdom, finding it to be a safe haven. The recent refusal of British government to accede to the request of government of India to deport Vijay Mallya from Britain who has been accused of serious financial irregularity by government of India, is a ready and immediate example to show that David Cameron has double standards in viewing the affairs in other countries.

Someone in Britain must advice David Cameron not to be careless in commenting about other countries and people of such countries must be left to themselves to tackle their corruption issues in the way they deem fit. Many believe that President of Nigeria is trying to tackle the corruption issue in Nigeria, though David Cameron does not want to recognize this .

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N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

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