June 14, 2018

Benin City, Nigeria…The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ has said that the new deal which Nigeria recently struck with the UK, US and France to repatriate $500million of yet another stash of Abacha loot is a welcome development which would open up the need for an asset monitoring framework.  

In a statement released in Benin City, ANEEJ Executive Director, the Rev. David Ugolor said that the effort of the Federal government of Nigeria, and the inclusion of CSOs in the asset recovery exercise falls within the scope of Article 5 Subsection(4) of the UNCAC Treaty which states inter alia that States Parties shall, as appropriate and in accordance with the fundamental principles of their legal system, collaborate with each other and with relevant international and regional organizations in promoting and developing…measures referred to in this article. That collaboration may include participation in international programmes and projects aimed at the prevention of corruption.

‘A big reason why the asset recovery effort of the Buhari administration is succeeding is that the government has recognized the need to harness the potentials of local and international partners and stakeholders in the effort to trace, track recover and put to fruitful use all recovered stolen assets anywhere they are in the world. We commend as well the government team headed by the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, who work tirelessly to ensure that the processes leading to the return of these stolen assets follow accountable and transparent models’, the Rev Ugolor said.

Part of the effort of Civil Society groups in the Asset Recovery drive involves the Anti-Corruption in Nigeria, ACORN, a Programme of the Department for International Development, (DFID), for which ANEEJ is executing the MANTRA Project (monitoring of recovered assets through transparency and accountability). The project was created to achieve the goal of strengthening the capacity of CSOs and citizens to monitor the use of repatriated loot, embark on advocacy to improve the policy, legislative and institutional framework for the recovery and management of looted assets in Nigeria and mobilise collective action in demanding a cleaner society.

What is therefore left now is for a policy framework that will engender transparent and accountable recovery and management of looted assets, a collective effort to monitor and implement Nigeria’s commitments from the London Anti-Corruption Summit and GFAR’, the Rev Ugolor said.