Hundreds of millions of pounds of British foreign aid given to Nigeria to help combat Boko Haram terrorists is instead being used to fund a witch-hunt against opposition politicians, it is being claimed. Britain has committed to spending £860 million in foreign aid to Nigeria, which now boasts Africa’s largest economy, to help support the country’s efforts to crush Boko Haram terror group, which has been responsible for a spate of outrages, including the kidnapping of hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls.
But Western officials are now raising concerns that the government of the country’s recently elected leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, is misusing the funds to persecute political opponents. Since Mr Buhari came to power last July, a number of prominent members of the former ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have been arrested and imprisoned without charge. Among those detained was the party’s official spokesperson.
Most of the arrests have been sanctioned by the government-controlled Economic and Financial Crime Commission, which was set up to tackle corruption and receives funding from the Department for International Development. But while Mr Buhari’s government continues to use British aid money to target his political opponents, it is proving less effective at tackling the Islamist-run Boko Haram terrorist group.
Much of the aid Britain provides to Nigeria is aimed at helping the country’s security forces to become more effective at tackling Boko Haram, which boasts of its links with Islamic State (Isil) and achieved international notoriety two years ago after kidnapping 276 schoolgirls in northern Nigeria two years ago.