UK May Withhold £250m Aid To Nigeria Over Pressure | Independent Newspapers Limited
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UK May Withhold £250m Aid To Nigeria Over Pressure

Posted: May 9, 2016 at 4:04 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Isuma Mark

Abuja – The United Kingdom may likely withhold £250 million in aid to Nigeria, sources in the UK High Commission in Nigeria (UKHCN) have said.

This position seems to have been corroborated by British local media which of late have mounted intense pressure on Prime Minister David Cameron to ensure the huge aid does not see the light of day.

British media have been awash with scathing attacks on Buhari’s style of administration, a sharp departure from what the UK expected before his inauguration, they say.

A widely read newspaper, The Mail, labeled the administration’s economic policy as “bizarre and archaic” ahead of Buhari’s visit for world anti-corruption summit, to be hosted by UK’s prime minister.

The Telegraph, a well respected and one of the conservative’s leading opinion paper, ran a sarcastic headline of the Nigeria president’s visit as “seeking more money to root out opposition”.

There is also pressure on the leading opposition leader in the UK, Rt. Hon. Jeremy Corbyn, to issue a statement to denounce not only the anti-corruption style of Buhari but also his administrative style.

Sources of Nigerian in Diaspora, UK chapter, who participated in recent protest against Nigerian government in the UK, say Nigerian High Commission in the UK is making frantic effort to deflate the pressure.

Also, some Nigerians in UK have organised to not only protest but also disrupt his visit for the event and any sideline meeting the president might be involved in. This is not unconnected with the president’s poor handling of the Fulani herdsmen attacks in Agatu, Enugu and many parts of the country.

UKHCN confirmed several petitions have been received against the Nigerian government especially bordering on human rights abuses and added that there have been frequent inquests from the UK government for the High Commission to furnish it with adequate information.

The source that directed Independent to speak with the High Commission spokesperson said it is likely Cameron might cave in to pressure and sanction no-aid posture of the public.

The UK and United States of America recently accused Buhari of one sided corruption war just to dissolve the strength of the opposition. Their criticisms also listed flagrant abuse of inmates who are used as moneymaking ventures, arrest and imprisonment without trial, increasing corruption, insecurity and many other issues they said are antithetical to democracy.

Consequently, The Mail Online said, “The presence of Nigeria’s president at David Cameron’s anti-corruption summit this week may surprise many in his nation – which receives vast amounts of UK aid.

“Self-proclaimed ‘People’s President’ Muhammadu Buhari began a war on corruption after taking power last year, but critics allege it is a political witch-hunt.

“The government is giving nearly £250 million in the coming year to oil-rich Nigeria,” the report signposting the direction of public opinion said.

It continued that, “Supporters say 49 arrests of members of the previous regime show the anti-corruption war is genuine, but opponents say it is politically driven.

“Nigeria has the highest-paid government officials in the world but is one of the largest beneficiaries of UK foreign aid.

“The Nigerian embassy did not comment”, it said.