David Cameron was caught on camera on Tuesday addressing Nigeria and Afghanistan as “fantastically corrupt” countries whose leaders are coming to the anti-corruption summit scheduled for later this week.
The British Prime Minister was talking to Queen Elizabeth II and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at the moment of the polemic commentary during an event to celebrate the British monarch’s 90th birthday. It is unknown whether in fact Cameron was aware he was being recorded, although there were cameras everywhere, as reported by the Washington Post.
“We had a very successful cabinet meeting this morning talking about the anti-corruption summit …,” Cameron told Her Majesty. “We have got the leaders of some fantastically corrupt countries coming to Britain … Nigeria and Afghanistan, possibly the two most corrupt countries in the world,” he added.
The Queen’s response was not audible in the video footage from Britain’s ITV News, but the Archbishop did said that this particular president was not corrupt, referring to Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari. Welby added that Buhari was “trying very hard”, in response to Cameron’s comments.
Cameron will be hosting on Thursday an international anti-corruption summit, which is aimed at stepping up global action to combat corruption in all walks of life, as reported by Reuters. Leaders from Nigeria and Afghanistan will be actually attending this event.
Nigerian spokesman, Garba Shehu, released a statement addressing the comments made by the British Prime Minister. He commented that Cameron was looking at the past and not focusing on the currents events.
Shehu said that this was an embarrassment for the nation to say at least, given the good work that the president is doing. The eyes of the world are on what is happening in Nigeria, the spokesman said while commenting that Cameron must be looking at an old snapshot of Nigeria. Things are changing with corruption and everything else, Shehu added.
Afghanistan and Nigeria were rated by the Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perceptions Index 166 and 136, respectively, out of 168 countries. North Korea and Somalia placed last on the list.