ANEEJ expresses dismay over negative effects of corruption on Nigerians
By: Our Correspondent
A Group under the Auspices of Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) has said the endemic corrupt practices in the Country negatively affect Nigerians increases poverty and underdevelopment.
The Deputy Executive Director of the Group, Mr. Leo Atakpu asserted this during ANEEJ Cluster assessment report on the implementation of London Anti-Corruption Summit and Global Forum for Asset Recovery (GFAR) commitments meeting held in Abuja on 31st, January, 2023.
According to him, Nigeria is the 154 least corrupt nations out of 180 countries, according to the 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International.
Mr. Leo explained that the meeting is being organized under the Enhancing Anti-corruption and Social Inclusive Reform Initiatives in Nigeria project being implemented by ANEEJ and its eight partners as part of the Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE) project, which Palladium is currently implementing with support from USAID, designed to enhance local civil society organizations’ ability to be positive and responsible change agents in Nigeria.
According to him, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) recently revealed that 133 million Nigerians live in multi-dimensional poverty, saying Public Infrastructures such as power, roads as well as social services, particularly educational and health institutions are in dire conditions necessitating an unprecedented upsurge in brain drain.
The ANEEJ Deputy Executive Director stressed that the annual inflation rate in Nigeria accelerated for the 10th straight month to 21.47% in November of 2022 from 21.09% in October and above market estimates of 21.15% as the country battles with soaring food prices. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) further revealed in its Consumer Price Index (CPI) report for that food inflation climbed to 23.72% in October 2022, from 23.34% in September 2022.
He stated that the above data was one of the key factors that influence President Muhammadu Buhari to inform the (GFAR) summit that corruption constitutes a serious threat to good governance, rule of law, peace, and security as well as development programmes aimed at tackling poverty and economic backwardness in Nigeria.
Speaking on the Global Forum on Asset Recovery (GFAR), Mr. Leo said it has 300 participants representing 26 jurisdictions as well as international organizations, civil society, and media, to reinforce the global asset recovery agenda; share best practices; provide technical training to asset recovery practitioners; and support capacity building initiatives.
“The Forum was structured similarly, with a high-level opening session, substantive technical workstreams to share best practices and provide technical training to asset recovery practitioners, and emphasis on parallel bilateral and multijurisdictional meetings for case coordination.
“The target audience of the Forum included policymakers and practitioners from the four priority countries, with delegations sufficiently staffed to be able to cover all necessary meetings, Civil Society and media practitioners.
“At the end of the meeting, Nigeria signed an agreement with Switzerland for the repatriation of $322.5milion Abacha loots, which ANEEJ and its partners have been monitoring the disbursement for the Conditional Cash transfer programme of the Federal Government.
“We are at the tail end of that piece of work, but preliminary reports show great improvement in the management of returned assets in Nigeria.
“Nigeria also entered into some other commitments which we have equally reviewed the performance that will be shared here today for your inputs/corrections and criticisms where necessary.” He said
In her remarks, the Deputy Director Reform Coordination and Service Improvement, National Orientation Agency, Acharu Opaluwa commend the efforts of ANEEJ in the Anti-Corruption crusade and assured the organization of her Agency’s support.
Similarly, Mr. Uchenna Arisukwu the Civil society Adviser at the OGP National Secretariat urges key stakeholders in the fight against corruption in Nigeria to strengthen collaboration in order to effectively curb corruption.