A UK Telegraph report has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of misappropriating hundreds of millions of pounds donated to Nigeria to tackle insurgency.
The report accused Buhari of using Britain’s anti-insurgency donation to fund a witch-hunt against opposition politicians.
The report said Britain had committed to spending £860 million in foreign aid to Nigeria to support the efforts to crush Boko Haram.
The report read:
“Since Mr Buhari came to power last July, a number of prominent members of the former ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have been arrested and imprisoned without charge. Among those detained was the party’s official spokesperson”.
“Most of the arrests have been sanctioned by the government-controlled Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), which was set up to tackle corruption and receives funding from the Department for International Development.
“But while Mr Buhari’s government continues to use British aid money to target his political opponents, it is proving less effective at tackling the Islamist-run Boko Haram terrorist group.
“Much of the aid Britain provides to Nigeria is aimed at helping the country’s security forces to become more effective at tackling Boko Haram.
“Now political opponents claim he is returning to his old dictatorial ways, abusing British aid meant to improve Nigeria’s ability to tackle Boko Haram to consolidate his hold on power.”
The report added that Boko Haram is gaining more grounds because of the president’s interest in fighting his opponents rather than providing security.
Telegraph said there is a growing concern among Western officials that the Nigerian military is failing to take effective action against militants.
The paper quoted a senior US official as saying:
“This is a scandal in the making”
“There is no doubt the growing strength of Boko Haram is because President Buhari is far more interested in settling scores with his political opponents than concentrating his energy on defeating terrorists.
“The result is that Nigeria is starting to look more and more like a police state while Boko Haram just goes from strength to strength.”
Another Western diplomat said:
“If Buhari was serious about fighting corruption he would be focusing all of his efforts on targeting corruption that is impeding Nigeria’s ability to focus its efforts on tackling Boko Haram.”
Telegraph said the accusations that Nigeria is abusing British aid will add to the growing controversy over Downing Street’s commitment to spend 0.7 percent of GDP on the foreign aid budget.