Nigerian Politicians, Other West African Leaders Responsible for Over £30m Annual Funding to UK Education Sector – Report

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Nigerian Politicians, Other West African Leaders Responsible for Over £30m Annual Funding to UK Education Sector – Report
Obiajulu Joel Nwolu

A report published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, CEIP, has disclosed that politicians in West Africa, majorly Nigeria, contribute over £30m annually to the United Kingdom’s education sector.

According to the report released by CEIP, at least 40 per cent of Nigerian governors, past and present, have had their children study in UK universities from 1999 till date.

It showed that only ten state governors, past and present, have not sent their children to study in the UK.

The publication looked at how studying abroad for the political elites are potential sources of illicit financial flows from prominent politically exposed persons, PEPs, and politicians, some of who have been accused of corruption.

The publication which was written by a former US intelligence community expert on Nigeria, Mathew Page, exposed how PEPs in West Africa had pumped questionable wealth into the UK education sector.

The report partly read, “It is not easy to estimate the overall value of this flow, yet it likely exceeds £30 million annually.

“Most of these funds emanate from Nigeria and, to a lesser extent, Ghana; compared with these two countries, only a handful of students from elsewhere in West Africa seek education in British schools.

“All of Nigeria’s presidents and vice presidents, for example, during that period had done so. Likewise, roughly 40 per cent of Nigeria’s current and former state governors have educated their children in the United Kingdom.”

It further read that the most compelling red flag relating to West African PEPs’ payments to UK educational institutions is “how greatly the payments exceed their official salaries”.

In reference to Nigeria, Page raised questions on how government officials who can afford the high tuition fees for their children overseas become “inexplicably wealthy”, whereas the public service rules prohibit them from running private businesses.

“They appear to use a wide range of self-enrichment tactics that include misappropriating public property, engaging in various forms of contract fraud, collecting fraudulent allowances, accepting inappropriate gifts, soliciting bribes or kickbacks, and obtaining land grants for themselves and their associates, among many other schemes,” he said.

He urged UK officials to conduct more scrutiny on the conditions under which the children of politicians enrol in British schools, arguing that this would help realise the UK’s global anti-corruption objectives and close a troublesome anti-money laundering loophole.

This post was written by Obiajulu Joel Nwolu.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.

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