In its determined step to nip corruption in the bud, Nigeria is making concerted effort to enlist as the ninth African nation to join the globally recognised coalition, Open Government Partnership to fight the dreaded scourge.
The Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN revealed this in a keynote address he delivered at the Nigeria Anti-corruption Summit held in Abuja on Thursday.
This is contained in a statement issued by Comrade Salihu Othman Isah, the spokesman to the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and made available to the media.
Isah quoted the Minister who was represented at the summit by his Special Assistant on Research and Special Projects, Mr. Sylvester Imhanobe, that; “amongst other commitments, we may likely see Nigeria joining the Open Government Partnership in the coming days. Joining the OGP will help Nigeria improve transparency in the management of natural resources, and public funds as well as citizen participation in governance.”
It would be recalled that since OGP’s launch in 2011, its membership has grown from eight to 69 countries; and that currently, only eight are from the Africa continent namely, South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Tunisia.
Malami also assured that the establishment of public accessible ‘Beneficial Ownership’ Register is one of the areas Nigeria would explore in support of the forthcoming London Anti-Corruption Summit scheduled to be hosted in London on May 11th, 2016.
The HAGF also emphasized that this would help in identifying several individuals that are hidden behind corporate vehicles while laundering public funds in offshore territories, however lamenting that the institutional and legal mandates of various anti-corruption, anti-money laundering, and asset recovery agencies in the country are complex.
He said, “The consequence of this has been institutional rivalry, lack of strategic approach to planning and a lack of inter-agency cooperation and coordination.
Malami further explained that, Our goal is to improve cooperation and coordination that is an essential element in strengthening the capacity of anti-corruption agencies in Nigeria by developing a deeper, evidence-based understanding of the agencies mandate, responsibilities, competencies, capacity and outputs embedded in respect for rule of law and integrity.”
AGF noted that “grand corruption” have had a destructive impact in Nigeria with a huge level of illicit asset flight and illegal transfer of a large proportion of natural resources revenue to offshore bank accounts or for investment in opaque economies thereby creating widespread culture of corruption and impunity at all levels of our society.
Nevertheless, he acknowledged efforts made by successive Nigeria governments in tackling corruption and money laundering by enacting a number of laws to create necessary legal mechanism to combat the crimes.
He admonished that “Nigeria cannot afford complacency by anti-corruption institutions in the way they do their work.”
“In conclusion, I must reiterate that Nigeria cannot afford complacency by anti-corruption institutions in a way they do their work. Tackling corruption in Nigeria is immensely difficult but with the political will provided under the current administration it is important that the agencies become highly effective to respond to current challenges and demands by the citizens.”
Speaking earlier, Mr. Ben Mellor, Head of Department for International Development (DFID) Nigeria in a presentation on the London Anti-Corruption Summit to be held soon, stated that British government has put in place every machinery towards making United Kingdom (UK) unsafe for treasury looters.
He also assured that the UK is prepared to offer assistance to countries in the war against corruption and money laundering which includes Nigeria.