VP YEMI OSINBAJO ACKNOWLEDGES ANEEJ ROLE IN ABACHA LOOT RETURN
OGP Nigeria Week
Background & Concept
- The Government of Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has been focused on combating corruption and achieving an open and transparent government. At the London Summit on Anti-Corruption, the Government committed to strengthening anti-corruption measures through implementing programs aimed at: exposing corruption; punishing the corrupt and providing support to the victims of corruption and driving out the culture of corruption. To deepen institutional and policy reforms, Nigeria joined the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in July 2016 as the 70th member country.
- The Open Government Partnership is an international multi-stakeholder initiative focused on improving transparency, accountability, citizen participation and responsiveness to citizens through technology and innovation
- Since its inception, OGP Nigeria in collaboration with Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government as well as Civil Society Organizations and the Organized Private Sector has brought about commendable reforms in areas of Fiscal Transparency, Anti-corruption and Asset Disclosure, Access to Information, Citizens’ engagement and empowerment which are the thematic areas on which the 14 commitments of the National Action Plan (NAP) were formed. In order to create better synergy amongst stakeholders, the OGP Nigeria established the National Secretariat to coordinate the effective implementation of the OGP NAP in Nigeria
- The International Open Government Partnership recently announced the Open Government Week. The OGP week, that will start from 7th May and end on 11th May, 2018 will be devoted to all things ‘’#OpenGov’’ around the world. This global call to action is for anyone who believes citizens should play a role in government decision-making and will feature seminars, workshops, conferences, public debates, webinars, open dataset releases, media tour and other events planned by citizens, civil society and governments.
- Nigeria will join the global community in the celebration of the Open Government Week. The week will provide an opportunity for civil society, government, and all stakeholders to co-create transformative commitments to open governments and make them more accountable and responsive to citizens.
- The Open Government Partnership Week (#OGPWeek) kicks-off the process where more than 70 countries and cities who are members of the OGP Global Initiative will be able to draft action plans or review progress of existing action in partnership with civil society organizations. In these plans, governments commit to take real steps to fight corruption, improve public services, promote transparency and protect civic space.
- The first day of the week will start with a high-level opening session led by a Guest Speaker on ‘’Renewing Trust of Citizens in Government’’ and the President, Muhammadu Buhari giving a keynote address on “The Impact of Open Government Partnership to Nigeria’s Anti-Corruption Efforts’’. This will be followed by a panel conversation on “Renewing citizens’ trust through participatory governance”.
- The second day will focus on the role of technology in improving service delivery with a keynote speech by Barrister Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communication. He will deliver a keynote address on “Nigeria’s Open Data policy”. There will be panel sessions on “Improving Service Delivery through the Use of Technology” and “Use of Technology to Improve Transparency and Accountability in Governance” also on the same day.
- The third day will focus on improving ease of doing business in Nigeria. The Guest Speaker on ‘Nigeria’s Open Government Commitment on Ease of Doing Business’ will be Okechukwu Enelamah, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment; followed by panel sessions on “Role of Organized Private Sector in Improving Transparency and Accountability” chaired by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group and “Addressing Youth Unemployment through Open Contracting and Open Budgeting” chaired by Dr. Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Productivity.
- On the fourth day, Dr Joe Abah, DAI Country Director and former Director General of the Bureau for Public Sector Reforms will deliver a lecture on the role of citizens led groups in sustaining transparency and accountability in governance. Dr Abah’s lecture will be followed by the National Accountability Stewardship Forum, town hall styled conversation between heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and the public on various aspects of governance.
- A rally will be held on the fifth day to increase public awareness around OGP, the rally will end with a press conference and stakeholders will also visit various media houses for interviews. In the evening, a dinner will be hosted of stakeholders and development partners to allow for interaction in a relaxed atmosphere.
In a speech at the event in Abuja, 7th May 2018, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN said:
‘I acknowledge the role played by ANEEJ in the negotiation of the return of the Abacha Loot..’
Very true. In October 2017, ANEEJ organized a stakeholders meeting of CSOs, Government official and the diplomatic community to prepare ahead of the first Global Forum for Asset Recovery, in Washington DC, 2-4 December 2017. At that meeting, the Federal Government of Nigeria signed an MoU with the Swiss government for the return of the $321 million Abacha loot. Post GFAR activities and events led to the actual return of the funds with an interest paid by the Swiss Government.
ANEEJ is co-chair of the Anti-Corruption and Asset Recovery working group where she has worked assiduously to promote issues related to a register of Beneficial ownership of companies in Nigeria, Asset Recovery and utilization, synergy with the Anticorruption Agencies, ACA, and general coordination of all anti-corruption activities in Nigeria.
ANEEJ has developed two programmes, along with the OGP theme of innovation and technology, the PROPATI TRACKA and the DYNTRA INDEX as tools to drive transparency and accountability in governance. Both programmes seek to deepen accountability and transparency in property acquisition in Nigeria, and the use of 49 indicators to bring the Niger Delta Development Institutions closer to Niger Deltans.
VP Speech (see page 4)