The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, was caught on camera on Tuesday telling Queen Elizabeth that leaders of some “fantastically corrupt” countries, including Nigeria and Afghanistan, were due to attend an anti-corruption summit expected to hold in London on Thursday.
Cameron specifically described Nigeria and Afghanistan as “possibly two of the most corrupt countries in the world,” according to a report by Reuters.
The prime minister will host the international anti-corruption summit, which is aimed at stepping up global action to combat corruption in all walks of life.
The report said Cameron was shown talking with the queen about the summit, in a pooled video feed made available to the ITN broadcaster.
“We had a very successful cabinet meeting this morning, talking about our anti-corruption summit,” he said when the queen approached. “We have got the Nigerians – actually, we have got some leaders of some fantastically corrupt countries coming to Britain. Nigeria and Afghanistan – possibly two of the most corrupt countries in the world.”
It was also reported that the queen did not respond to Cameron’s comment. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, however, said, “But this particular President (Muhammadu Buhari) is actually not corrupt.”
President Buhari and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who are due to attend the summit, have reportedly acknowledged corruption in their countries and pledged to clean it up.
But Cameron had come under fire for describing Nigeria as ‘fantastically corrupt.’
The Federal Government, civil rights groups and international organisations including Transparency International faulted Cameron’s claim, saying Britain too “is corrupt.”
The Presidency on Tuesday said the statement credited to Cameron was not reflective of the anti-corruption posture of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said this in his reaction made available to journalists.
Shehu said the Prime Minister must be looking at the country’s past.
He said Buhari was changing all that were wrong with Nigeria, including corruption, and that was why the President was chosen as a keynote speaker at a pre-summit in London.
Read More: Punch