The British government is committed to giving back to Nigeria money stolen by corrupt officials and politicians, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria has said. Paul Arkwright made the comment during a briefing in Kano state, northern Nigeria.
"The British [government] is committed to helping Nigeria increase its security, stability and prosperity," Arkwright said, according to the Vanguard. "We are working with President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure the success of the fight against corruption and the British will continue to support the administration to ensure free corrupt society in Nigeria".
He added the British government is concerned about how the funds will be used once repatriated. He said: "It is the hope of British government that the funds will be used on the execution of development projects." The commissioner also said that the UK is planning to hold an anti-corruption summit to which Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari will be invited.
Arkwright made the remarks as Nigeria's minister of information, Lai Mohammed, warned dozens of Nigerian officials and state employees allegedly stole $6.8bn (£4.7bn; N1.34tr) from public funds during the previous administration between 2006 and 2013.
Buhari, who took office in May 2015 after winning the presidential election, vowed his administration would end widespread corruption in the country and would repatriate stolen funds.
The leader ordered an investigation into arm procurement during the previous leadership that resulted in the arrest of high-profile officials accused of having stolen the equivalent of billions of dollars aimed at the fight against Boko Haram terrorists.
Stolen funds are often smuggled into other countries where they are reinvested. In an exclusive report by IBTimes UK, members of Security in Africa and Potent Communications warned that Nigerian stolen funds repatriated to the African nation risk of being embezzled again, making corruption a vicious circle difficult to break.
In a recent trip to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Buhari signed an agreement with the Arabian peninsula on repatriation of stolen funds and extradition of culpable officials.