BENIN CITY, NIGERIA. May 13, 2022… Anti-corruption watchdog, the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ and its 8 Civil Society partner organisations implementing the “Enhancing Anti-corruption and Social Inclusive Reform Initiatives in Nigeria” project under the Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE) project of Palladium, supported by USAID have welcomed yesterday’s signing into law of three anti-corruption Bills by President Muhammadu Buhari. They are the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Bill, 2022; The Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill, 2022 and the terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill, 2022.
Executive Director of ANEEJ and Leader of the group, the Rev David Ugolor in his reaction said “the passage of the Bills and their eventual assent by President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday marks a significant milestone in strengthening the war against money laundering, terrorism financing and asset recovery in the country.” ANEEJ and its allies have been campaigning for the passage of POCA and other anti-corruption Bills for a long time coming.
He also called on the National Assembly to consider passage of two other Bills; the
Witness Protection Bill (2022); and the Whistleblower Protection Bill, (2022) before the end of the tenure of the present administration, both of which, he says are direly needed by citizens who are prepared to volunteer information to the Anti-corruption Agencies and the judiciary and that they would complement the effectiveness of the three Bills signed by President Buhari .
Ugolor noted that “even though our quest to have a separate asset recovery and management agency was not achieved in the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA), ANEEJ and its allies are prepared to work with the Anti-Corruption Agencies (ACAs) to firm up assets management capabilities.”
Rev David Ugolor, a member of Board of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) Coalition representing Sub-Saharan African CSOs also said the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act will help crack down on Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs). And other perpetrators of Illicit Financial Flows (IFF) responsible for hemorrhaging the Nigerian public till.
“We are happy that we are able to pull through with these three pieces of legislations and our focus will now shift to the enforcements of anti-corruption laws. By this development, Nigeria has met some milestones required by International Anti-corruption bodies, and it is now left for all stakeholders to go ahead with implementation” adds Executive Director of 21st Century Community Empowerment for youth and Women Initiative, Mallam Lukman Adefolahan.
The Executive Director of the Joint Association of Persons with Disability (JONAPWD) Edo State Chapter, Ms. Ann Ojugo on her part commended members of the National Assembly, particularly, President of the Senate, Mr Ahmed Lawan and the Speaker House of Representatives, the Rt Hon Femi Gbajabiamila for expeditious consideration of the Bills brought before them by the President.
Ojugo urged the anti-corruption agencies to put in place systems that would enable proper management of recovered assets that will help fight poverty in Nigeria. “We expect that recovered assets should be used for development programmes that will help in poverty eradication. Persons With Disabilities should be carried along when such programmes are being conceptualized and implemented,” Ojugo requested.
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