The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, says the Anti-Corruption in Nigeria (ACORN) programme is an important model of Aid and development effectiveness, which is capable of changing numerous development challenges buffeting Africa if replicated by other OECD-DAC countries.
Mr. Leo Atakpu , Deputy Executive Director of ANEEJ, in a presentation titled “Trends and Issues in aid and development finance: A developing countries’ perspective” at the opening session of the OECD-DAC CSOs Reference Group in Paris, France asserted that “the United Kingdom has committed £20 million in combating corruption in Nigeria over a five -year period, spanning 2016-2021 under its ACORN programme.
Within the period of implementation, Mr. Atakpu said that “UKAID, through ACORN is changing the narratives and perception of corruption in Nigeria. It is contributing to Nigeria’s fight against corruption, by supporting stronger sanctions and enforcement; more accountable and transparent systems and raising citizen’s awareness and demand for a cleaner society. Much more, it is changing people’s lives’.
Mr. Leo Atakpu, Immediate Past Chairman of the International Coordinating Committee (ICC) of the Reality of Aid Network, a North-South Civil Society platform engaging the OECD-DAC said “ACORN has supported the Nigeria anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)to procure state-of-the art forensic equipment worth 500,000 pounds, leading to over 600 successful prosecutions of corruption cases and recovery of huge revenues ploughed back into national treasury for development purposes within a short space of time.
“The beauty about the programme is that it is not managed by a commercial service provider, as such previous interventions have been, but largely driven by national civil society organisations through Accountable Grants, with strategic guidance from DFID Nigeria. It is about Government of Nigeria, Civil Society Organisations and the donors working collaboratively to advance development in a very unique and unprecedented manner in Nigeria.
Mr Atakpu told the audience that “ACORN is supporting advocacy for transparent return and management of looted assets to Nigeria. ANEEJ and partner organisations drawn from the 6 geo-political zones of the country implementing the Monitoring Transparency and Accountability in the Recovery of Assets (MANTRA) project, a sub-sect of the ACORN programme are monitoring the use of $322.5million Late General Sani Abacha loot returned from Switzerland. The returned loot is being deployed through the Cash Transfer Programme of the Government’s Social Investment Programme to the poorest of the poor.
“Report from over 720 field monitors deployed to the field for the second round monitoring of the returned loot indicates that over 90 per cent of the funds already going to the poorest of the poor Nigerians, contributing significantly to achieving SDGs, this is the best way to spend ODA to improve people’s lives. It has led to an official gazetting of an asset recovery and management guideline by the government,” Atakpu told the Paris global gathering.
Officials of the OECD, CSOs from Europe, North and South America, Canada, Asia, Pacific, and Africa are attending the weeklong event.