In a boost to President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade, Bolaji Owosanoyu, Executive Secretary of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption has announced that the British government will release to the Nigerian government information about Nigerians who own property in the United Kingdom (UK). According to Owosanoyu, “Britain has promised that by 2018, she will provide Nigeria with the information about who owns what and where; that’s very helpful. These include all the houses that have been bought by public officials or accounts that are held by public officials on which they are right now not paying taxes or which they cannot explain the sources.”
It is conventional wisdom that rich Nigerians buy expensive apartments in London’s Mayfair neighborhood, and that the acquisition of expensive property is a form of laundering ill-gotten gains. However, many other Nigerians of more modest means have acquired property in the UK, the number of which is unknown.
Such a move from the British government appears to be a concrete and practical means of assisting the Buhari administration’s anti-corruption efforts. It is a step that should be seriously considered by Nigeria’s other friends and partners, including the United States. Wealthy Nigerians have a history of designating New York, Los Angeles, and Washington DC real estate as a place to invest their money.