19th May, 2018.
Benin City, Nigeria…The Africa Network for Environment & Economic Justice, ANEEJ, has expressed delight at Nigeria’s appointment as chairman of Heads of Anti-Corruption Agencies in the Commonwealth, saying that it is a vote of confidence by the Commonwealth and the rest of the world on the efforts by the Nigerian government, CSOs and stakeholders.
In a prior event at the AU meeting in January in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari was awarded the AU anti-corruption Champion. ‘Getting appointed into these high levels of international and intercontinental positions is no piece of cake. For Nigeria, these appointments are a true reflection of the interest and the confidence which Africa and the rest of the world reposes in Nigeria’s effort to rid itself of the cankerworm of corruption’, ANEEJ executive director, the Rev David Ugolor said during a press conference with the media. “The appointment of Ibrahim Magu as head of anti-corruption agencies will not only help to strengthen the fight against graft but would go a long way in combating the ‘it -takes-two-to-tango’ maxim of corruption by ensuring that there is no hiding place for looted assets in any part of the Commonwealth”, Ugolor submitted.
At the onset, it appeared as if the vast maze and geographical dimension of corruption would frustrate and compromise the Federal government effort to bring corruption to its knees. To that extent, Nigeria entered several international treaties, and especially that with the United Arab Emirates, UAE, to track, trace and freeze all monies frittered away by politically exposed persons. To strengthen Nigeria’s anti-corruption drive, the National Assembly needs to work assiduously to pass two key bills – the Mutual Legal Assistance, MLA, and the Proceeds of Crime Bill.
The rest of the World has taken notice. At the maiden edition of the Global Forum for Asset Recovery, GFAR, in Washington DC December 2-4, the efforts of four countries to fight corruption – Nigeria, the Ukraine, Tunisia and Sri Lanka – came into sharp focus, leading to an MoU being signed by the Nigerian government and Switzerland to return $321million Abacha Loot. Before that meeting, ANEEJ worked with a coalition of NGOs and government to present a common front to the GFAR, and presented the position of Nigeria, Tunisia, Sri Lanka and the Ukraine to the rest of the world.
‘The Commonwealth Chairmanship being conferred on Nigeria, and in effect on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is a product of the efforts of Nigerian CSOs, the government and other stakeholders in the fight against corruption in Nigeria. It shows that because corruption is no respecter of geography, efforts must be pooled to surmount the invisible restrictions which geography imposes on the fight to rid Nigeria and indeed the Commonwealth nations of corruption’, the Rev Ugolor said during on a statement to the press.