A former secretary of state for International Development in the United Kingdom, Priti Patel, says despite President Muhammadu Buhari’s public anti-corruption platform, Transparency International has not seen any reduction in corruption since Buhari took office.
Patel, a member of the UK parliament, who disclosed this in a short op-ed for City A.M, London’s first free daily business newspaper, said investors should know of the corrosive effect of corruption, as well as the lack of transparency and associated difficulties of doing business in certain countries, especially in Nigeria.
“President Buhari currently faces serious allegations, which include staging show trials of opponents of a regime that is accused of corruption and graft, while simultaneously shielding his own party members and inner circle.
According to her, President Muhammadu Buhari has disrespect for “international law and convention, and court decisions”.
Patel, who visited Nigeria in 2017, alongside Boris Johnson, former UK foreign secretary, shared the experience of two Irish businessmen, who suffered from Buhari’s decision to renege on signed contracts.
She said in 2010, P&ID signed a 20-year contract with the Nigerian government to create a new natural gas development refinery, but the project fell through after the Nigerian government reneged on its contractual commitments.
“Upon taking office, President Buhari promptly cancelled a compensation settlement, and has done his level best to pretend Nigeria’s obligations to P&ID do not exist.
“The most recent court decision at a London tribunal confirmed that the Nigerian government owes P&ID almost $9bn for the initial breach of contract, loss of income, additional costs, and interest accrued after five years of non-payment.
She said the Nigerian government has continued to flout international law and convention, and it refuses to respect the various court decisions.
“Let us not forget that Nigeria is the only member of OPEC that is dependent upon petrol imports to keep the country going. Nigeria is ranked 145th in the world for its ease of doing business, which demonstrates the risks of investment into Nigeria.
We should all welcome international efforts to attract international investment into developing economies. However, to do this successfully Nigeria must seriously tackle corruption, rather than use it as a smokescreen.