Politically exposed persons in West Africa reportedly spend in excess of £30 million annually on tuition fees in the United Kingdom, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) has said in a report.
The report released on January 28, suggests that Nigerian political elites, including those convicted of corruption-related crimes, contribute a larger proportion of the estimated yearly tuition traced to the subregion.
The report by the Washington-based foreign-policy think tank revealed that UK law enforcement has continually failed to scrutinise the enrolment of children of West African politicians in British schools, despite the modest legitimate earnings of the public officials.
“This relative lack of review has allowed some West African politically exposed persons (PEPs) to channel unexplained wealth into the UK education sector,” the report authored by erstwhile U.S. intelligence community’s top Nigeria expert, Matthew Page, said.
“It is less clear, however, how West African political elites can afford to send their children to schools or universities in the United Kingdom given their far more modest salaries, yet many continue to do so, no questions asked,” it added.
Citing implications of the unrestrained trend on emerging economies such as Nigeria, the report stated that “the recruitment of more wealthy students from corruption-prone, highly impoverished countries like Nigeria could handicap these countries’ socioeconomic development by enabling capital flight, amplifying foreign exchange and currency pressures” amongst others.
In an apparent indictment of the British education system, the CEIP report disclosed that independent schools in the UK view Nigeria as an increasingly attractive market — an ideology it said, had peaked the number of Nigerians being enrolled in schools in the European powerhouse.
Indicted Nigerian politicians
Former Plateau Governor Joshua Dariye and his counterpart from Delta, James Ibori, who were both convicted for various forms of corruption ranging from fraud to money laundering, were listed amongst political elites who had reportedly spent a chunk of ill-gotten gains on tuition in British schools.
The report revealed that Mr. Dariye spent an estimated £240,000 on fees for his children in UK boarding schools and universities despite facing corruption charges.
It also noted that Mr. Ibori, the former Delta governor who was convicted by a British court in 2012, allegedly spent an estimated £286,000 on UK tuition for his kids.
The names of other Nigerian politicians who had spent estimated sums ranging from £343,000 to £861,000 were withheld by the report.
Buhari, others spending heavily on UK education
The CEIP report found that President Muhammadu Buhari and all of Nigeria’s presidents and vice presidents from 1999 had sent one or more of their children to an exorbitant British school.
It added that no fewer than 40 percent of both past and present state governors in Nigeria have equally educated their children in the United Kingdom.
The report, sponsored by the UK government, underscored how many Nigerian politicians devise various methods such as contract fraud, fraudulent allowances, bribes or kickbacks, amongst others, to mingle their loot. (People’s Gazette)