NIGERIAN CORRUPTION

It's a well known fact, and thanks to British Prime Minister David Cameron's recent comment to Her Majesty The Queen Nigeria is 'fantastically corrupt'. It's no secret that Nigeria is and continues to be perceived as a corrupt nation. Its leader Muhammed Buhari pretty much has said so in every interview he is asked. The Nigerian President is in London meeting with Britain's Prime Minister to discuss how best to deal with corruption and corrupt individuals in his country. Well, might I make a bold suggestion that you start with one Nduka Obaigbena.

The self-styled media mogul, Mr Obaigbena is a well known character not only in Nigerian circles and cliques but also now thanks to his very dubious business practises, he's also notorious in both U.K. and the U.S. His media assets include newspapers and a TV Network, though a network is too grandiose a word for what currently exists in London. Mr Obaigbena has been successfully sued and is currently being sued in both the U.K. and U.S. by the staff who worked for him for 'unpaid salaries'. Unfortunately and ias is characteristic of the man, he has not paid up despite being told to by the courts.

I, unfortunately, am also one of the victims of his scams. I say scams because Mr Obaigbena gives the impression of running and owning a TV Network (Arise News) and yet behind closed doors, he doesn't pay his bills, hasn't paid many staff in over 18 months, gets kicked off the satellite (non-payment of fees), kicked out of studios and shut down (for not paying fees for the studios)...and on it goes.

The consequences of not paying his staff are legion. Several have been forced some to sell their homes because they couldn't keep up their mortgage payments, forced some staff to dip into their retirement funds early, some couldn't even claim benefit as the IRS (Inland Revenue Service) had no record of the company's existence. One was even forced to head back home and had to have plane ticket purchased for him because he couldn't afford the roof over his head anymore or food let alone be able to travel to the airport and back to try to jump on a flight....and on it goes. Time and time again the same staff have pleaded, lobbied and called on Obaigbena to come good with their hard earned salaries but to no avail. Their requests have been met with a combination of silence, empty and shallow promises and a phrase that has become the defacto norm for Obaigbena in his responses, 'the money has been transferred'' and yet time and time again no such funds were ever transferred.

In London the former head of Arise News has successfully sued and forced the winding up of the then TV Network as it existed. The High Court recently closed the network down. But rather than pay up the money, as ordered by the courts, instead he has started the same network under a different name. Clearly the law has allowed Mr Obaigbena to make a mockery of justice here in the U.K. In the U.S. his former staff have filed lawsuits against him for non-payment of salaries and yet he claimed in a recent email that 'he was unaware of any such cases'. This despite the fact he recently answered one such case in federal court and the attorneys representing the staff have confirmed to me that, they have jurisdiction over Mr Obaigbena.

To add insult to injury Mr Obaigbena was recently in America staying at the Four Seasons in Vegas, the Beverly Wiltshire in Los Angeles and at his lavish 'penthouse' in Washingto DC. There he surveyed the former studios once occupied by Al Jazeera (owned by the uber gas rich state of Qatar) with a view to resurrecting the now defunct, Arise News USA. Clearly the cost of the studios was lost on Mr Obaigbena let alone the sums of money he was reportedly said to be spending on the new location. Once again, that has not materialised.

So, can anyone tell me how someone with his track record of ignoring courts, pleas from his former staff of their well-earned salaries, the rule of law, accusations of financial bribery....the list goes on, be allowed to swan around the UK and United States without so much as a care in the World? Why Mr Cameron are the hard earned taxes of British people going to a nation full of corrupt individuals but also, a government who will not reel in individuals like Nduka Obaigbena but instead allow him to carry on with his ill-gotten practises and continue to make a mockery of justice and the British people. If you come to a country you should obey the simplest rule of law. Nduka Obaigbena HAS NOT!

But of course the Buhari government would act when it suited 'their purposes'. Nduka Obaigbena was recently asked by the newly elected Nigerian government to repay money ($3 million) that was given to him by the previous administration of Goodluck Jonathan. Despite Nduka Obaigbena's protestations he was given two weeks in which to pay back the money. He now reportedly has.

So President Buhari if you have any intentions of wiping out corruption in your country then, you should start with individuals like Nduka Obaigbena. Until you do no one in their right mind will ever take you or your government at face value. Your protestations in and out of diplomatic circles will fall on deaf ears. You'll become just another President serving his term without making one jot of difference.

If Sir, you refuse to act then, the courts in the United States will soon follow on from their counterparts in the United Kingdom and pursue, and I am assured successfully, Nduka Obaigbena and cease as well as confiscate and sell his assets. It will be a vindication for the rule of law and justice but more importantly for you, it will be done with or without your assistance!!