Comment on corruption: IYC accuses DFID boss of political meddling, incitement
By Titus Agbo
An umbrella group of all Ijaw youths, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has accused the the head of United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) in Nigeria, Ms Debbie Palmer of playing dirty local politics, instead of limiting herself to her official responsibilities as a diplomat.
The DFID boss drew the ire of the Niger Delta youths after her recent statement where she was quoted to have alleged that the country lost $32 billion to corruption under the Government of Dr.Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
Responding in an open letter addressed to her and the British High Commission in Nigeria, the IYC accused Palmer of behaving like a sponsored agent whose inciting and suspicious views represented neither the truth nor the reality on ground in her host country.
The letter jointly signed by Barr. Igbeta Ayebakuro and Daniel Dasimaka, IYC’s legal adviser and spokesman respectively, challenged the DFID boss to prove her claim, and also wondered why a foreigner would limit her assessment on only the Jonathan administration, while having a general conversation on corruption in Nigeria.
The letter entitled ‘DFID’S Palmer on corruption: Voice of the Slave Master or Hired Agent?’, further said: “Are you telling the whole world that corruption in Nigeria started and ended with the Jonathan Government? We wish to put it to you that you are simply behaving like a sponsored agent whose inciting views represent neither the truth nor the reality on ground. It is sad, as many people now claim, that the DFID, under your leadership, has become more political than developmental, in its activities in the country.
“We will advise you and your cohorts to desist from taking sides in the ongoing partisan anti-corruption war. This is because It does not portray you, and others who think like you, as international neutral observers, on Nigeria’s internal affairs.”
Below are the details of the letter:
OPEN LETTER TO DEBBIE PALMER, HEAD, DFID, NIGERIA
DFID’S Palmer on corruption: Voice of the Slave Master or Hired Agent?
Dear Ms. Palmer,
We are constrained to write you this open letter, based on your claim that Nigeria lost $32 billion to corruption under the five years of the previous Government of Dr.Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
We were told that you dropped this serious allegation at a youth forum where you were supposed to have identified the roles for the Nigerian youth, in the fight against corruption.
Being that this is a very serious allegation from a foreign diplomat against a past Nigerian Government, we are interested in knowing how you came by this claim, hence the need to write you this letter.
However, we are worried that you had made this assertion in a very suspicious way, by not placing the facts before your audience.
We agree that there are issues of corruption in Nigeria since independence, just as it is in many other countries. But we are shocked that a diplomat would loosely mention a staggering figure of $32 billion on corruption, allegedly committed under a Government, without clearly stating the circumstance or source of such spurious information.
We are therefore challenging you to tell the world the sectors, ministries and departments of Government in which this happened, or where the money is kept, as this will help the Nigerian Government to recover the funds, claimed by you, to have been stolen.
If you fail to provide these details, you would then be rendering your statement as either the voice of a desperate foreign politician seeking to ingratiate herself with the host Government, or that of an unrepentant slave master, who is acting true to type.
We know and still believe that when powerful countries like yours want to bring an African Government or that of any other developing nation down, they will first accuse the head of such government of massive corruption or gross human rights abuses, or both. That had been the pattern where unpopular regime change, usually masterminded from outside, had happened in sub-Saharan Africa and other developing nations.
From your statement, we are convinced that you are still pursuing that strange narrative that fed the plots and conspiracies to remove former President Goodluck Jonathan from office. We are worried that you have remained on this same eerie path, almost three years since Jonathan left office.
We consider this your suspicious opinion a personal attack on former President Jonathan. Otherwise why will you, a foreign diplomat, limit the period of review to only the years covering the Jonathan administration? Are you telling the whole world that corruption in Nigeria started and ended with the Jonathan Government?
We wish to put it to you that you are simply behaving like a sponsored agent whose inciting views represent neither the truth nor the reality on ground. It is sad, as many people now claim, that the DFID, under your leadership, has become more political than developmental in its activities in the country.
We will advise you and your cohorts to desist from taking sides in the ongoing partisan anti-corruption war. This is because It does not portray you, and others who think like you, as international neutral observers, on Nigeria’s internal affairs.
Barr. Igbeta Ayebakuro Daniel Dasimaka
Legal Adviser Spokesman