British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Andrew Pocock, Wednesday stated that corruption was largely responsible for Nigeria's present state of underdevelopment, adding that that was why the country has not advanced from where it was 30 years ago especially in the area of infrastructural development.
Pocock made the disclosure in Abuja, when he paid a courtesy visit to the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, in his office.
Pocock said: "The UK is not just interested in what you do here which has been of great benefit to Nigeria, but it is also interested in the anti-corruption campaign of your government for so many years now. "In 2011 when our Prime Minister, Mr. David Cameron, met with President Goodluck Jonathan in Lagos, one of the areas they drew up a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on was to collaborate in the fight against corruption."
The High Commissioner noted that corruption in the country had impacted negatively today on the daily lives of Nigerians, the economy, its infrastructural growth and governance, adding: "When I was here in 1980, which was a period the country was just coming out from long years of military rule, where the oil boom peaked and public infrastructure grew with the attainment of over 5000 megawatts of electricity.
“Thirty years after, and because of corruption in resource allocation process, it became difficult to deliver infrastructure to the people, and today this country is still generating the same quantum of electricity generated 30 years ago."
According to him, the consequences of corruption to the country has brought about unquantifiable cost to the underdevelopment of this country, adding that the UK is not just interested in Nigeria because of its past history, but because UK sees in Nigeria, a country that is an emerging power, economically and politically in the global sphere.
Pocock, however, added that it was gratifying to note that the country was on the right direction in the privatisation of the energy sector.
He said: "If this process is transparently done, there is no doubt that Nigeria will be on the verge of industrial revolution in the next few years.
"This is because a private sector-driven economy especially in the country's energy sector will eliminate subsidy, boost export, create jobs for the people."
In his remarks, Lamorde, while welcoming the High Commissioner, commended the UK government for the assistance being rendered to the agency especially during the last fuel subsidy investigation through paying for the forensic accountants involved in the investigation.
The chairman pleaded with the High Commissioner to use his offices in the repatriation of the funds belonging to the looters to the Nigerian government that is presently being withheld by the UK government.
He said: "You have supported us in the area of capacity-building and we do hope that in a few years to come, we would be proud to say that the war against corruption has been brought to its lowest level."