NEWS ANALYSIS: Strengthening collaboration against corruption, By Gabriel Agbeja

The World Bank Group considers corruption as a major challenge to its goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030.

It believes that taming corruption is cardinal to achieving Sustainable Development Goals and a sure way to achieve recognition among great nations.

According to the group, corruption is destructive so much so that it has a disproportionate impact on the poor and the most vulnerable people in the society.

Because of it grievous negative effects on human development, the African Network for Environment and Economic Justices (ANEEJ), a non-governmental organisation, solicits aggressive anti-corruption crusade to enhance good governance.

ANEEJ Executive Director David Ugolor notes that the organisation has inaugurated Civil Society Advocacy to Support Anti-corruption and Rule of Law in Nigeria (CASARN) project to create a platform that will improve the integrity of the country and improve economy.

The project is part of the implementation of the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption programme, funded by the European Union and implemented by the British Council.

He notes that the project will enhance governance in Nigerian by contributing to fighting against corruption, strengthening rule of law and protecting human rights.

“The expectation outcomes of the project are the improved oversight, transparency and accountability in the management of resources and enhanced civil society and public engagement and participation in the fight against corruption.

“One of the project’s objectives is to support civil society organisations, media advocacy for implementation of open government partnership commitment by targeting corruption prevention measures,’’ he said.

According to him the project will equally focus on issues around freedom of information, procurement reforms, institutional strengthening around asset recovery and management, budget monitoring and tracking as well as anti-corruption.

“Since 1997, ANEEJ has championed the call for stoppage of illicit financial flows from Nigeria and other developing countries to the secrecy jurisdictions in western countries.

“It has in same vein championed the campaign for the repatriation of looted assets of Nigeria stashed in western banks and was active in call for a UN instrument against corruption, money laundering and illicit financial flows.

“ANEEJ works with more than 100 civil society organisations while hosting the Secretariat of the Publish What You Pay Campaign, Nigeria.

“The organisation also coordinates civil society organisations that were involved in monitoring the late General Sani Abacha loot under the Public Expenditure Management and Financial Accountability Review, a tripartite agreement involving the World Bank, civil society organisations and governments,’’ he said.

In further actions against corruption, Mr Williams Oseghale of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), says that the commission has made remarkable achievements under its current leadership in the area of recovering looted funds, forfeiture of assets of corrupt persons and jailing of past governors who stole public funds.

Similarly, Mr Henry Idogun, Managing Director of Edo State Public Procurement Agency, notes that the agency will strengthen its collaboration with ANEEJ to fight against corruption and promote good governance in the state.

He promises that the agency has determined to encourage transparency in governance to greatly reduce corruption to ensure better future for next generation in Edo.

He also notes that the agency has collaborated with office of Head of Service and Local Government Service Commission to create procurement officers cadre in the state.

Sharing similar sentiments, ANEEJ Programme Manager Innocent Edemhanria says there will be effective collaboration with government in different levels to tackle corruption.

He explains that the Civil Society Advocacy to Support Anti-corruption and Rule of Law in Nigeria will also make government transparent, participatory and accountable to the people.

Edemhanria further notes that the project has been designed to target some of the issues captured in the Open Government Partnership State Action Plan.

According to him, much of the effort has been engaging the youth with a view to reducing crime, violence and youth restiveness.

“Corruption is a major issue in Nigeria; anti-corruption is also a major priority in Nigeria to support the strategy and advance the rule of law by the current administration.

“ANEEJ advocates the importance of supporting the Nigerian national and state governments in delivering equitable economic development for the Nigerian people,’’ he said.

ANEEJ is a non-government organisation which goal is to amplify the voice of the weak, the less privileged and the marginalised groups in the society.

Its managers say the organisation must fight corruption and other vices to the finish.(NANFeatures)