Civil Society Groups and other critical stakeholders have been charged to step up advocacies individually and collectively for the speedy passage of the pending anti-corruption bills by the National Assembly.
This was the agreement of the participants at the end of the two-day workshop organised by the African Nework for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) for CSOs and Media on Anti corruption and Inclusive Reforms in Abuja,the nations Federal Capital.
ANEEJ Executive Director ,Revrend David Ugolo reminded the participants that one of the mandates of the CSOs is to prevent corrupt acts and ensure system review. Amongst the pending bills are on Witness Protection and Proceeds of Crime .
Government is also advised to shun all acts and executive pronouncement that could rubbish the gains in the anti corruption fight in Nigeria.
Decrying the recent executive pardon granted to two former governors, ANEEJ posited that such action could discourage foreign development partners from supporting good governance and the anti corruption advocacy in Nigeria.
It also called for proper corruption risk assessment and integrity test for the office of the Accountant General by the ICPC to forestall recurrence of the alleged sleece.
The organisation commended the Federal Government’s commitment to enacting anti-corruption laws ,particularly the recent signing into law by President Muhammadu Buhari of three bills aimed at improving the anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing/proliferation financing framework in Nigeria.
The bills are the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill, 2022, the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill, 2022, and the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Bill, 2022.
The NGO also urged their members “to adopt workable strategies by using date based researches in their advocacies and partnering government agencies rather than been confrontational”.
ANEEJ listed some gaps in the anti corruption reforms to include, lack of statutory mechanism for whistle blower and witness protection in Nigeria and that the Code of conduct bureau does not allow public declaration of assets.
In his presentation on Anti-corruption commitments and reforms in Nigeria the Chief Operating Officer ,Community Empowerment for Youths and Women Initiative ,Lukman Adefolahan disclosed that “Nigeria has over 30 government agencies saddled with anti corruption mandate”. He listed them to include EFCC,ICPC,SON ,NAFDAC and NDLEA
The anti- corruption promoter also hinted that Nigeria remains the only country repartraiting looted assets in the world adding that this was made possible with supports of the CSOs.
While calling for the establhment of a central body for the management recovered or forfeited assets ,Lukman called for full implementation of the existing anti corruption laws .
He cautioned government against weakening the anti corruption agency through undue political interference stressing that ” government can deal with the head of any institution found to be aiding corrupt practices without necessarily attacking the insitution.
Lukman therefore called for the establishment of a platform for sharing information amongst the agencies saddled with anti corruption mandate stressing that such would reduce duplication of duties.
While urging the CSOs to be alive their social responbility, he alleged that most fraudulent acts are being perpetrated during the procurement.
He also tasked the anti corruption institutions to check the menace of seized properties/ items many of which do rot away in their custody.
Lukman however maintain anti corruption fight could not becssud to be successful if itfues not bring benefit to the ordinary Nigerians.