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NewsANEEJ says corruption remains a major challenge hindering growth and development in...

ANEEJ says corruption remains a major challenge hindering growth and development in Nigeria

ANEEJ says corruption remains a major challenge hindering growth and development in Nigeria

By: Femi Mustapha

The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) has said that corruption has remained a major challenge that is hindering the growth and development of Nigeria.

He asserted this during the National Dialogue on Anti-Corruption held at Bolton White Hotel, Abuja, on 25th July 2023.

The Dialogue was organized under the Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE) project, a USAID-funded project being implemented by Palladium in collaboration with Nigeria Resource Partners (RPs) and working in collaboration with 8 clusters working to enhance anti-corruption and social inclusive reform initiatives in Nigeria.

The Anti-Corruption Crusader lamented that underdevelopment is visible because Nigerians and other African political leaders, multinational corporations, the business elite, and civil servants, with the complicity of banking and property industries in Europe, North America, and elsewhere, have stolen around $148 billion annually, according to the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU).

Rev. Ugolor said the 2022 CPI report ranked Nigeria 150 out of 180 countries, saying even though the latest ranking was four places higher than the 2021 CPI ranking for the country, Nigeria still scored 24 out of 100 points which was not different from the 2021 CPI score, falling back one point compared to the 2020 CPI.

The ANEEJ Executive Director informed the participants that the Federal Government of Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, while working with the international community, showed commitment and determination to fight corruption.

He added that the regime also expressed a clear roadmap on how to trace, track, and repatriate looted assets to the countries of origin to finance development.

Rev. Ugolor advised President Bola Tinubu to foster continuity and sustenance of the successes recorded during the previous administration, noting that there is a need to bring stakeholders together to articulate the key areas the new administration should focus on, so as not to lose the gains achieved in the past eight years. This is one of the reasons why this national dialogue was convened.

He stressed that continuity is key to the anti-corruption crusade because an ANEEJ assessment report on the implementation of anti-corruption commitments in Nigeria showed that actions need to be taken on several issues.

“Some laws have been enacted and certain actions need to be taken to drive the implementation.

“There are also pending laws that should be enacted to strengthen anti-corruption work in the country.

“The recently adopted national anti-corruption strategy also requires action to avoid the shortfalls of the past, and the anti-corruption agencies need to be strengthened to be able to handle emerging issues,” he said.

Rev. Ugolor informed the participants that the cluster organizations working with ANEEJ on the project were drawn from Abia, Delta, Edo, Ondo, Imo States, and the FCT.

They include 21st Century Community Empowerment for Youth and Women Initiative, Abuja; Community Empowerment and Development Initiative (CEDI), Warri, Delta State; Community Heritage Watch for Development Initiative (KAI) Akure, Ondo State; Christian Fellowship and Care Foundation (CFCF), Owerri, Imo State; Foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy and Development (FENRAD), Aba, Abia State; Gender and Development Action (GADA) Port-Harcourt, Rivers State; Joint National Association of Persons with Disability (JONAPWD) Edo State Chapter; and New Apostolic Centre for Development (NCD), Benin City, Edo State.

In her remarks, the Chief of Party Palladium, Lydia Odeh, said corruption is a pressing challenge, observing that corruption has hindered progress, perpetuated poverty, and impeded development.

She, therefore, opined that today’s national dialogue serves as a critical platform for stakeholders from various sectors to collectively shape the agenda for the new administration.

Odeh disclosed that the objective is to identify priority areas that will enhance the fight against corruption in Nigeria.

“As we enter a new administration following the recent general elections, it is crucial to maintain the progress achieved in the fight against corruption.

“The assessment report by the anti-corruption cluster has identified both successes and weaknesses in the implementation of these commitments. We must build upon our achievements and address the identified gaps to strengthen our efforts.

“I extend my sincere gratitude to all the participants in this dialogue, including members of the anti-corruption cluster led by ANEEJ, civil society organizations, journalists, representatives from the Federal Ministry of Justice, and our esteemed anti-corruption agencies. Your expertise and dedication are invaluable as we unite in the fight against corruption.

“Together, we possess the power to effect transformative change. Through this dialogue, we will come up with detailed recommendations for the new administration and ensure the effective implementation of our anti-corruption efforts.

“Let us seize this opportunity to forge a future for Nigeria that is free from the grip of corruption – a future characterized by justice, inclusivity, and prosperity for all.” She said.

Similarly, Prof. Sadiq Isah Radule of the Department of Sociology at Bayero University Kano (BUK) said whistleblowing should not be seen as a tool for blackmail or intimidation.

Prof. Sadiq Isah Rada, who was the former Executive Secretary of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), tasked the CSOs and the media on the need to educate Nigerians on anti-corruption fight.


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