CIVIL SOCIETY ADVOCACY TO SUPPORT ANTI-CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA – INCEPTION MEET
Corruption is a problem in Nigeria and the Nigerian government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari is serious about fighting it. But it cannot cannot carry out the Herculean task all alone. With support from the UNDP, EU and the UNODC, the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, seeks to bring relevant stakeholders together to support the Federal government in the fight. And therefore on the 24th January, 2017 at the Dennis Hotel, Abuja, ANEEJ held its first inception meeting tagged CASAN PROJECT.
Here is a highlight of that crucial meeting:
(a) WELCOME ADDRESS BY REV DAVID UGOLOR, ANEEJ EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
I will like to first welcome you all to this inception meeting for ANEEJ “Civil Society Advocacy to Support Anti-Corruption in Nigeria (CASAN)”. I am delighted that you are able to honour our invitation despite your busy schedule. I know that virtually all of you here are busy people, but that you can join us is a thing of joy.
The CASAN project is supported by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under the European Union (EU) founded 10th European Development Fund (EDF). The goal of the project is to enhance the capacity of CSOs including journalists to support anti-corruption effort of Nigerian government. Our target is to get several CSOs to understand what the federal government of Nigeria is currently doing regarding two important processes so that they will be able to key into such processes to offer their support and strengthen processes. The processes we are referring to here are the:
- implementation of Open Government Partnership (OGP) and;
- the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC)
As part of the project implementation, ANEEJ plans to build the capacity of selected CSOs including journalists on the OGP including the open contracting platform and the implementation UNCAC in Nigeria including the second UNCAC review circle, to support their policy advocacy and engagement with relevant agencies of government around the issues.
This inception meeting has been designed to:
- Introduce the project to stakeholders including key actors involved in the implementation of OGP and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) in Nigeria including the second UNCAC review process.
- Bring focal persons involved in the implementation of OGP and UNCAC review process to meet with CSOs and Journalists
- Get update on the implementation of OGP and UNCAC review process in Nigeria
- Create opportunity for CSOs to give feedback to the UNCAC secretariat on gaps in UNCAC implementation/areas of non-implementation in Nigeria
Just as we mentioned in the background note to this meeting, we expect that at the end of this inception meeting,
- CSOs will familiarize themselves with both the OGP and 2nd UNCAC review process in Nigeria and the focal persons taking a lead at the various government Ministries, Department and Agencies, so that it will become easy for subsequent follow up.
- A civil society committee will be set up to engage the UNCAC review process and OGP implementation in Nigeria
- CSOs will also be updated on what has transpired so far regarding the implementation of OGP and the UNCAC 2nd review circle
Our interest on the issues is that they present significant opportunity for civil society organisations to participate in critical governance processes and anti-corruption initiatives, most importantly as they emphasize preventive approach to tackling corruption.
Just to mentioned at this point that Nigeria formally joined the OGP in July 2016, two months after President Muhammadu Buhari attended the London Anti-Corruption Summit. So far, the Nigerian OGP National Action Plan (January 2017 – June 2019) has been developed with civil society and private sector input. One of the key deliverables of the OGP is the open contracting platform which the Bureau of Public Procurement is currently developing.
Similarly, the second review cycle of UNCAC (2015–2020) covering chapter II on preventive measures and chapter V on asset recovery is currently on. It is therefore important that CSOs actively participate during the UNCAC review process to strengthen such process.
Today, we have invited persons from the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Communications, the Technical Unit on Governance and Anti-Corruption Reform (TUGAR), Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Development partners including our funding partners, CSOs and Journalists among others. We believe that these are critical stakeholders who will drive the implementation of the OGP and the 2nd UNCAC review circle in Nigeria.
I want to appreciate the EU through the UNDP and UNODC for the support they have given to us in the implementation of the CASAN project.
I thank all of you again for attending our event.
(b) A cocktail of photos at the CASAN Meet.