UK newspaper Daily Mail has again took a swipe at President Muhammadu Buhari for his war against corruption. The paper says that while the Nigerian leader is seen as leading the fight against graft, some shocking accusations swirl around one of his close friends. Nigeria’s transport minister and former governor of Rivers state, Rotimi Amaechi, is said to have bankrolled Buhari’s presidential campaign. Nigerian media reportedly described Amaechi as ‘ATM’ – the American term for cash machine – because of his power to giveAMAECHI big sums of imagemoney at short notice.

Ex-governor keeps his post despite being blamed for stealing £338m (N96bn) by a commission probing the sale of state assets. A part of diverted money is probably to have come from UK taxpayers, who gave Nigeria £1billion (N285bn) in aid over five years to 2014. Individually, Amaechi is blamed for misappropriating £140million (N40bn) of state funds into Buhari’s presidential campaign, with reports he paid for media, consultants and private jets. The breakdown of 2016 budget showed that the Buhari’s administration earmarked £16million (N4,5bn) for the renovation and maintenance of the president’s official residence, Aso Rock Guest House, in the capital Abuja.

There was also a request for billions of naira for building a VIP wing at a hospital used by families of the president and his ministerial team. However, Amaechi has rejected the accusations against him. When British Prime Minister David Cameron was caught on camera last week before an anti-corruption summit defining Nigeria as ‘fantastically corrupt’, Buhari rallied to Cameron’s defence by agreeing with him.

But the Nigerian presidency said that previous governments were corrupt, not the incumbent one. Buhari, on his own part, demanded the UK to return stolen funds, hidden in the country by Nigerian officials. Amaechi is one of the most controversial Buhari’s minister, whose screening at the Senate was postponed for several times due to investigation against corruption. Previous time British paper accused President Buhari of hypocrisy with fighting corruption, saying that Nigerian leader just prosecuting his opponents.
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