27th September 2017

Benin City, Nigeria…The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ has urged the United Kingdom, UK, and the US, together with the EU to live up to all commitments made to assist Nigeria eliminate the bottlenecks of international legal systems in the repatriation of wealth looted from Nigeria by politically exposed persons, PEP.

The Rev David Ugolor, ANEEJ executive director made this call on the heels of the Klepto Tour taking place in the UK on Wednesday September 27  2017, a precursor to the Global Forum on Asset Recovery, GFAR, Conference in the US in December. In a short statement titled, Grand Corruption and Unfulfilled Promises To Nigerians, and made available to the conveners of the UK Klepto Tour, the Rev Ugolor expressed deep concern on the weak political will on the side of the UK Government to move quickly on the Central Register on Beneficial Ownership and which unfairly undermines the regime of transparency in the global financial market. The Rev Ugolor said that during the 2016 anti-corruption summit, the UK and several countries made commitment on beneficial ownership as it relates to property. He said in addition that Transparency International in its 2017 report which reviewed the performance of commitments at the summit reveals that 67 of the 384 government pledges relate to beneficial ownership which makes it the issue that received the most attention. Unfortunately, six of the nine pledges on public contracting are inactive.

The Rev Ugolor referred to a similar plea made by Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari during the London Anti-Corruption Summit in 2016 and at the United Nations General Assembly, UNGA, on September 19, 2017, urging the UK, the US and the EU to make good their commitments on anti-corruption in Nigeria.  Two years after the London commitments nothing tangible seemingly has happened while the victims of the grand corruption in Nigeria continue to suffer and wallow in abject poverty. The TI report which the Rev Ugolor alluded to in his statement to the Klepto Tour conveners reveals that of the 16 commitments on accountable asset recovery only 4 has been completed. Most importantly, the US 480m Late General Sani Abacha loot forfeited to US Department of Justice in 2014 has not been repatriated to Nigeria.

‘It is equally important to emphasize that the rising migration from Nigeria and other African countries is directly connected to the looting of the public funds which would have been used to tackle the problem of unemployment and the implementation of the SDGs.  There is therefore urgent need for the UK government to support Nigeria to investigate the names of Nigerians revealed in the Panama Paper Leak scandal. ANEEJ hopes that the upcoming GFAR Summit in the US in December 2017 will provide another opportunity for the UK and US Governments to redeem their commitments from the London Anti-Corruption Summit on the repatriation of Nigeria’s looted assets’, the Rev Ugolor said further.