Nigeria has signified its intention to be enlisted as the latest member nation of the Open Government Partnership, a global coalition in the fight against corruption.
Its intention became official yesterday through a letter to the OGP steering committee titled, ‘Letter of Intention to Join the Open Government Partnership’ signed by the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN dated 20th June, 2016.
This was made known through a press release issued Monday by Comrade Salihu Othman Isah, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and made available to newsmen.
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The media aide disclosed that the letter was addressed jointly to Ayanda Dlodlo, Deputy Minister for Public Service Administration, Jean-Vincent Place, Secretary of State for State Reform and Simplification, Government of France, Alejandro Gonzalez Arreola, Executive Director, GESCO, Gestion Socialy Cooperacion A.C. and Manish Bapna, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, World Resource Institute.
Isah quoted the Minister as stating in his correspondence to OGP that, “I am honoured to submit this letter of intent to the Open Government Partnership Steering Committee on behalf of the Government of Nigeria and to express Nigeria’s commitment to join the Partnership.
“As you are aware, Nigeria meets the eligibility criteria set out by the OGP and the government of Nigeria is strongly committed to the principles of Open Government.
“By joining OGP, the government of Nigeria commits to transparency and accountability in the management of public office. We believe that the OGP membership will enhance innovation, economic development and accelerate the transformation of our public service”, Malami stressed.
The Attorney General of the Federation also revealed that, “It is important to note that Nigeria is already participating actively in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) process and implementing the EITI Standards.”
He further emphasized that, “Nigeria has also enacted the Public Procurement Act and the Fiscal Responsibility Act with a view to enhancing transparency in public contracting, public procurement as well as the management of public finance.
“Nigeria has also improved access to information through the enactment of the Freedom of Information Act and the Code of Conduct Bureau Act. The requirement for the disclosure of assets by public officials is embedded in the Constitution and all public officers are required to declare their assets every four years.
“Against the background, Nigeria is committed to working with you and other countries within the OGP framework to implement the OGP initiatives with major focus on accountability of government institutions, enhancing freedom of information and corporate ownership transparency, particularly in the extractive industry”. the letter concluded
To recall, since OGP was 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.
With this letter, Nigeria intends to become the ninth African nation to join the coalition with the intention that it would aid the anti-graft war.
It would also be recalled that the Minister first made public the nation’s wish to enlist in the OGP as revealed in his keynote address at the Nigeria Anti-corruption Summit held in Abuja on 5th May, 2016.
He had disclosed 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.”