ABUJA-NIGERIA. May 7, 2019… Given the success of the implementation of Transparency and Accountability in the Recovery and Management of looted Assets (MANTRA) Phase 1 project, the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, has again been invited by the United Nations to the international expert meeting on the return of stolen assets, organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and the Governments of Ethiopia and Switzerland, being held in Addis Ababa from 7 to 9 May 2019.
The Chief, Conference Support Section, Corruption and Economic Crime Branch of the UNODC , Brigitte Strobel-Shaw who invited ANEEJ Executive Director, the Rev David Ugolor to the expert meeting said “the purpose of the meeting is to provide a forum for dialogue among asset recovery practitioners and policy makers for the development of draft good practices in asset return, taking into account the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the United Nations Convention against Corruption which recognizes the return of assets as a fundamental principle.
“The expert meeting will analyse successful asset return cases, as well as trends and developments in asset return, thereby identifying common obstacles to international cooperation in the return of assets and innovative ways of overcoming them. The meeting will assess, based on lessons learned, whether there are any good practices emerging from the past experience. The outcome of the meeting will be presented to the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on Asset Recovery at its next meeting.”
ANEEJ helmsman, Rev Ugolor said ANEEJ will be presenting the Success Story of Mantra being supported by the British Department for International Development (DFID) under its Anti-Corruption in Nigeria (ACORN) programme.
“We are going to the expert meeting in Addis Ababa to share our field experience from our monitoring the $322.5million being deployed to the poorest of the poor under the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme of the Federal Government’s National Social Investment Programme (NISP). It is a partnership between the government of Nigeria, Civil Society drawn from the six geo-political zones of the country and the international community and we are excited to share our story. We are happy to share it to the whole world as a model that works…, ” Ugolor stated.
“We are happy that our modest effort in ensuring looted assets are transparently returned to Nigeria and the returned assets are being used to combat poverty thereby helping Nigeria to make progress in the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals is a welcome development for all of us in the Mantra team,” adds Zikirulahi Ibrahim of the CHRICED, Kano.
“For us, we were really happy to be part of a transparent and accountable process that works in Nigeria. A process that ensures that returned loot are not re-looted in a country where corruption has been an age-long problem is really heart-warming and we are happy that our lead partner, ANEEJ has been invited to share our success story to a UN expert meeting in Addis Ababa,” says Engr. Ralph Ndigwe, Executive Director of CIRDDOC, Enugu.
The UN meeting in Addis is the latest international gathering devoted to asset recovery. The Open-Ended Intergovernmental Working Group on Asset Recovery, a subsidiary body created by the Conference, has met regularly to review the asset recovery process since its establishment at the first session of the Conference in 2006.
It will be recalled that last Month, ANEEJ was invited to present the MANTRA Model at the French Senate as they explore legislative framework on Asset Recovery and by the end of this Month, the MANTRA Model will be showcased at the Open Government Partnership Summit in Ottawa, Canada, where a Panel Section on Asset Recovery is being organized by ANEEJ.
MANTRA is an innovative project that aims at supporting the Nigeria Government’s efforts to recover and manage stolen assets in a more accountable and transparent manner. It is being supported by UK Aid under the Anti-Corruption in Nigeria (ACORN) programme of the DFID. It aims to monitor the process end to end. Mantra also promotes system strengthening through partnerships and collaboration between government agencies and civil society, demonstrating a strong national effort. It equally promotes citizens awareness and mobilisation around recovered stolen loot. MANTRA is acting and also encouraging others to take action in Nigeria and around the world.
MANTRA is being implemented by ANEEJ in collaboration with six partners spread across the six geo-political zones of Nigeria, West Africa. The six partners for Mantra 1 are: Centre for Social Justice (CSJ); Abuja, North Central; Bayelsa NGOs Forum (BANGOF), Yenagoa, South-South; Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre (CIRDDOC), Enugu, South-East; New Initiative for Social Development, Ado-Ekiti, South-West; Development Exchange Centre, DEC, Bauchi, North East; and Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), Kano, North West. Hundreds of other Civil Society Organisations are mobilized through the core partners to take action in the project.
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MANTRA PROJECT – ACHIEVEMENTS AND LESSONS LEARNT