6th November 2017

Press Release

Vienna, Austria…The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, has urged the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari to provide leadership by demonstrating that all those mentioned in the Panama Papers Leak as well as the recently released Paradise Report will not only be investigated and brought to justice, but their looted assets will be recovered as a signal that the Nigerian government is committed to the end of the culture of impunity

ANEEJ executive president, the Rev David Ugolor in a statement noted that a situation where Nigerian leaders use offshore secrecy providers to operate shell companies can make nonsense of President Buhari’s anti-corruption efforts.

‘ANEEJ cannot understand why Nigerian politicians who know more than anybody else about the poverty, disease, bad roads, poor medical facilities and a generally poor human capital index would hide their legitimate or illegitimate monies in tax-free havens to avoid contributing to the amelioration of the bad situation. Hiding their wealth in these secret off shore locations gives credence to the assumption that these funds are illicit and capable of being used to finance terror and other untoward activities’, the Rev David Ugolor said in a statement released to the press in Vienna just after the Paradise papers leak was made public.

Like the Panama Papers, the Paradise Report was undertaken as a discreet investigation involving a German newspaper and a coterie of international journalists coordinated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, ICIJ. The Paradise Report uncovers offshore hideaways of scores of world leaders including Nigeria’s Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki who has been revealed to be owner of a new offshore shell company.

‘We cannot but condemn a situation where African leaders use illegitimate methods to perpetuate a culture of impunity that impoverishes the Nigerian state. Most Nigerian workers have not been paid for as long as eleven months, and there is a recession which has direct relationship with the culture of impunity being perpetrated by the political elite in Nigeria’, the Rev Ugolor said.

President Buhari is Africa’s foremost anti-corruption crusader. Therefore, ANEEJ believes that he must demonstrate political will by reining in any Nigerian further mentioned in this scandal. And one of the ways he can do this is by looking into the Thambo Mbeki Report of the High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa. That report sought to inter alia, develop a realistic and accurate assessment of the volumes and sources of these outflows, gain concrete understanding of how these outflows occur in Africa, and ensure that practical, realistic, short- to medium-term actions are taken by Africa and the rest of the world to effectively confront what is in fact a global challenge.

‘To stem the specter of poverty, disease and underdevelopment ravaging the continent, African leaders must come together and act now on the recommendations of the Thambo Mbeki Report, together with earlier reviews carried out by ANEEJ’, the Rev Ugolor said.