The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has described as escapist, ridiculous and unjust, the United Kingdom (UK) reluctance to return Nigeria’s looted funds because it cannot trust the country with such funds if returned.
The MURIC director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola in a statement on Monday said that there was no basis whatsoever for Britain to make such a claim.
According to MURIC, ‘’The main question is: who owns the money, once it is established that the funds belong to the federal government of Nigeria, UK has no excuse holding on to it, talk less of pronouncing conditionality .
“Britain cannot be keeping Nigeria’s money. Nigeria is not a land of morons. On the contrary, we are among the most intelligent people in the world.
“Britain is asking us for more transparency. That question might have been relevant in the days of corrupt leadership. Anyone who is serious about refunding money should do so now that we have a transparent and credible leader.
“That excuse is anachronistic and irrelevant in Buhari’s Nigeria. Buhari has made a huge difference and Western countries which have no hidden agenda should reciprocate. Any country that still holds on to stolen funds should be seen as either a thieving nation itself or an accomplice. The United Kingdom (UK) has revealed that it is reluctant to return Nigeria’s looted funds because it cannot trust the country with such funds if returned.’’
A Queen’s Counsel, Mr. Philip Hackett had while speaking on the theme: ‘Institutionalising the War against Corruption – New Approaches to Assets Tracing and Recovery’, at the Annual General Conference of the NBA in Abuja on Wednesday, 29th advanced the reason for holding on to the funds.
MURIC added, “Why ask for more transparency when we already have a world acclaimed anti-corruption leader as president? It is simply escapist. UK’s reservation is an afterthought, mischievous and irresponsible. Britain has its own agenda. Its economy is benefiting from Nigeria’s looted funds and it wants this to continue.”
The group explained that it was on record that returned money had been used wisely by the Buhari administration, saying that an example was the Abacha loot which was recently returned by Switzerland and shared among poor Nigerians.
“The $322 million Abacha loot was disbursed through Conditional Cash Transfers (CCT) to 302,000 poor households in 19 states of Nigeria in July 2018. It shows that the present administration can be trusted to use returned money wisely and transparently.
“Now we understand the logic. Western nations have been using the endemic corruption in some African countries as an excuse for keeping money stolen from those countries in their own vaults.
“Also, it is becoming clear now that the repeated allegation by Western countries that there is still widespread corruption in Nigeria under Buhari is aimed at the same objective.
“They are using it as an excuse to keep our looted funds in foreign vaults ad infinitum. Nigeria’s money has only moved from one individual and unpatriotic thief to a corporate thief and a rogue nation.
“Yes, we affirm clearly, emphatically and unequivocally that Western nations who refuse to repatriate money looted from developing countries are rogue nations. They are living on the sweat of weaker countries. They have a heavy moral burden to carry”.
MURIC knocked Britain for its attitude on funds looted from Nigeria, saying “Britain’s attitude to looted funds from Nigeria exposes the underbelly of capitalism.