Global anti-corruption body Transparency International is participating in a workshop to follow up on the Nigerian government’s commitments made at the Anti-Corruption Summit in London on fighting corruption in the country.
The Nigerian government must commit to a “serious crackdown on corruption, as well as transparency when it comes to how recovered stolen assets will be used,” Chantal Uwimana, regional director for Africa at Transparency International, said in a statement. “Words are not enough.”
According to the Nigerian government, more than US$10 billion in looted cash and assets have been recovered. “We need to know who stole the money and when they will be brought to justice,” Uwimana said. “There should be no impunity for the corrupt.”
In London, Nigeria committed to the transparency and accountable management of stolen assets and greater cooperation to uncover and stop international enablers of corruption in the global financial system.
“We want to see progress on this in Nigeria and with the law enforcement authorities in other countries,” Uwimana added. “This is not a problem specific to Nigeria; the global financial system has to tackle this by holding the enablers of corruption—the lawyers, bankers, accountants, for example—to account.”
At London’s Anti-Corruption Summit, Nigeria also committed to signing on to the Open Government Partnership as a means of increasing openness, transparency and accountability in government. Transparency International called on the Nigerian government to follow through with this commitment without delay.
Transparency International also called for the government to commit to a timetable for introducing legislation to strengthen the Proceeds of Crime Bill, currently in draft, and enact whistleblower protection legislation.
Greater transparency would send a strong signal to citizens about the seriousness of government in terms of translating these commitments into concrete action. According to the African edition of TI’s Global Corruption Barometer, 75 percent of Nigerians surveyed perceived corruption to be on the rise, while 78 percent said they felt their government is failing in its efforts to fight corruption. In addition to Nigeria, citizens in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Ghana expressed the most negativity about the scale of corruption in their country.
Transparency International said it would also like to see the adoption of a national anti-corruption strategy with a clear vision for change, and targets to guide and ensure the sustainability of the current anti-corruption drive. “This will provide a much needed framework for coordinated action between state and non-state actors both nationally and internationally in the fight against corruption,” Uwimana said. “It will also help ensure that the country’s anti-corruption agencies are adequately resourced to carry out their mandate.”