The UN Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, has called for a people-centred approach in the fight against corruption in the country, such that the lives of citizens would be positively impacted.
Mr Oluseyi Soremekun, the National Information Officer of the UN system in Nigeria, said Kallon made the call at a virtual gathering of top ranking officials of the African Union and African Governments on Wednesday in Lagos.
The gathering was to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission.
Kallon acknowledged the efforts of Nigeria in corrupt related convictions, especially in 2019 and the repatriation of stolen funds from few jurisdictions.
“Going forward, I would like to propose to you an adjustment to our approach.
“We need an approach that puts citizens at the center of the fight against corruption because it is when they see tangible progress which impacts them positively that we can expect them to support the fight.
“They will also refuse to take part in corrupt practices and report corruption incidents whenever they become aware of them if this approach is put in place.
“In short, we need to do better in demonstrating the actual benefits of the fight against corruption,” he said.
Against the background of the maiden UN Special Session against Corruption coming up in 2021, Kallon stressed the timeliness of the event for the African Anti-Corruption community.
He urged the community to come together to jointly determine Africa’s anti-corruption agenda at the global stage.
Kallon suggested four specific actions to tackle widespread small-scale bribery, enhancing the development impact of asset recovery.
Others are to create effective and responsive public complaints systems and improve transparency and communications in the fight against corruption.
The Deputy Chairperson, African Union Commission, Thomas Kwesi-Qartey, acknowledged the leading role of Nigeria in the fight against corruption, especially illegal financial flow.
He noted that the Common African Position in Asset Recovery commonly known as CAPAR, which the Nigerian government was instrumental to will be crucial in stemming illegal financial flow from Africa.
According to him “the CAPAR will be extremely useful in helping African countries to identify, repatriate, and to effectively manage the illicitly acquired assets in a manner that respects our sovereignty.”
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, in his message likened the fight against corruption to that of COVID-19, charging individuals to take personal responsibility in the fight.
“We all need to take responsibility for the fight against corruption as we take responsibility against contracting COVID-19 because the virus kills, but corruption kills even more.
“ICPC alone cannot fight Corruption, we all must be involved and a failure to take responsibility is dangerous to self and the society,” he said. (NAN)