BENIN CITY, NIGERIA. November 24, 2022… Civil Society Organisations working in the anti-corruption sector have welcomed yesterday’s approval of the revised National Anti-Corruption Strategy 2022-2026 by the Federal Executive Council presided by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Leader of the CSOs and Executive Director, Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, Rev David Ugolor, hailed Federal Government’s approval of the revised National Anti-Corruption strategy saying it will help deepen the fight against graft in the country even beyond the present administration. The CSOs are working on ‘Enhancing Anti-corruption and Social Inclusive Reform Initiatives in Nigeria’ as part of the Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE) project which is being supported by Palladium with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
“We, call on the Federal Government to work closely with CSOs and media to popularise the implementation of the newly adopted National Anti-Corruption strategy (2022-2026), and we urge the government to ensure that it provides mechanisms for creatively aligning different institutions and agencies in the Nigerian integrity framework, and support private-public partnerships against corruption in a manner that ensures; effective collaboration, coordination and synergy, as well as delineation of sectoral program priorities, within and outside the public service, whilst serving as the broad umbrella road map under which mass mobilization of citizens behind the crusade is pursued and achieved.
“We strongly believe that this is how lessons learnt from the first phase will be incorporated into the implementation,” Ugolor stated.
The ANEEJ helmsman expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari, the Attorney-General and minister of Justice, Abubakar, Malami, SAN and his team for their interest in expediting action on the revision and extension of the National Anti-Corruption strategy (NACS), pointing that a lot of work went into the process which, according to him, was open and participatory and conveyed his gladness that CSOs were part of the process.
On his part, the Executive Director, 21 Century Community Empowerment for youth and Women Initiative, Abuja, Mallam Lukman Adefolahan while welcoming the approval of NACS II, further called on the National Assembly to “prioritize and intensify efforts to pass the various anti-corruption bills such as the whistleblower protection and witness protection bills amongst others that need to be passed and receive the assent of the President to encourage citizens to report corruption cases if there is legal backing of the law that seeks to protect them.
“While CSOs should continue to sustain their advocacy and initiate and support prevention and education programmes against corruption. In doing this, CSOs should engage, support and partner with anti-corruption agencies in the fight against corruption at all levels,” Adefolahan emphasized.
There is the need for sub-national governments to take urgent steps to key into the implementation of the strategy as demonstrated recently by the Cross River State Governor, Prof Ben Ayade, adds Mr. Clinton Ezigwe, the Campaign Manager, Christian Fellowship and Care Foundation (CFCF), Owerri, Imo State.
“The revised strategy will only work and make our society corruption-free if all states of the federation key into it. The fight against corruption cannot be left in the hands of the federal government alone, “Clinton Ezigwe contended.
Executive Director, Community Empowerment and Development Initiative, CEDI, Warri, Delta State; Mrs. Martha Onose called on Presidential aspirants in the country to follow the Buhari example by telling Nigerians how they are going to implement the anti-corruption strategy.
“We need to know from those angling to take over from the President next year how they plan to fight corruption as the revised strategy provides a leeway and we are not hearing much from the candidates in this regard,” Mrs. Onose emphasized.
CSOs under the Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE) project, working to promote reforms in the development commissions established by federal and state governments to develop the Niger Delta region. The SCALE project is a USAID-funded 5-year project being implemented by Palladium in collaboration with Nigeria Resource Partners (RPs).
It will be recalled that the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami while briefing newsmen noted that the review and extension, of the National Anti-Corruption strategy became necessary, following successes recorded by the Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in its anti-corruption drive.
Malami revealed the anti-corruption agencies have been able to secure convictions on behalf of the government in Courts to the tune of over 3000. The AGF also disclosed that looted funds recovered by the administration both locally and from foreign governments in the last few years amount to over $1 billion.
The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) is implementing the “Enhancing Anti-corruption and Social Inclusive Reform Initiatives in Nigeria” as the anchor for the anti-corruption cluster of eight organisations under the anchor-cluster model as the anchor organization. The cluster is composed of Anti-Corruption-focused CSOs drawn from NGOs, Faith-Based Organizations, Gender Based and Persons with Disabilities.