BRITAIN’S high commissioner to Nigeria Catriona Laing has revealed that the country is willing to return all of Nigeria’s stolen loot stashed away in London as part of a programme to strengthen the bilateral partnership between both nations.
Historically, the UK has been a favourite destination for stolen Nigerian funds as politicians and public officials are known for stashing ill-gotten loot in City of London banks. Of late, however, there has been a clampdown following the passing of international money laundering laws that allow host countries to prosecute anyone who deposits stolen loot in its banks.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja during a visit to the chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Abdulrasheed Bawa, Ms Laing said the UK will also strengthen the existing cooperation and partnership with the commission. She praised the EFCC for its efforts so far in combating corruption.
EFCC spokesman Wilson Uwujaren, said: “The UK and the EFCC have restated their resolve to further strengthen the existing cooperation and partnership between them in the fight against economic crimes and corruption. The UK envoy who expressed her admiration for the young and talented chairman of the EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa, said the UK was serious about returning ill-gotten gains and preventing it from happening in the first place.
“She recalled past support of the UK government to the EFCC and the fight against corruption in Nigeria through the Combined Inter-Agency Task Force. She added that we remain strong partners and they are here to support us.
Mr Bawa added: “We should continue to work together to achieve our mutual interests. We must try to strengthen the special relationship we have maintained especially with the UK’s National Crime Agency.”
He said the commission was working assiduously to change the narrative as far as the fight against corruption in Nigeria is concerned. Mr Bawa also thanked the envoy for the UK government’s support in developing the commission’s forensic capacity through training, adding that the EFCC under his leadership has deployed technology to improve its operations.
Among other things, the EFCC recently launched the app Eagle Eye, which simplifies the process of reporting economic and financial crimes. It can easily be downloaded to phones and enable members of the public to blow the whistle undetected.