The United Nations Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon, has called for a people-centred approach in the fight against corruption in Nigeria such that the lives of citizens will be positively impacted. He made the call on Tuesday as he joined top ranking officials of the African Union and African Governments to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission at a Regional Webinar on Combating Corruption and Illicit Financial Flows.
Mr. Kallon, who acknowledged efforts of Nigeria in corrupt related convictions, especially in 2019 and repatriation of stolen funds from few jurisdictions, expressed belief that citizens should be put at the centre of the fight against corruption to make the efforts more impactful.
“Going forward, I would like to propose to you today an adjustment to our approach. It is our belief that we need an approach that puts citizens at the center of the fight against corruption.
It is only when citizens see tangible progress directly impacting their lives positively, that we can expect them to support the fight, to refuse to take part in corrupt practices and to report corruption incidents whenever they become aware of them. In short, we need to do better in demonstrating the actual benefits of the fight against corruption.”
Against the background of the upcoming first United Nations Special Session against Corruption comes up in early 2021, Mr. Kallon stressed the timeliness of the event for the African Anti-Corruption community to come together to jointly determine Africa’s anti-corruption agenda at the global stage.
Drawing from the experience in Nigeria, the UN Resident Coordinator proposed four specific actions to tackle widespread small-scale bribery, enhancing the development impact of asset recovery, create effective and responsive public complaints systems and improve transparency and communications in the fight against corruption.
In his goodwill message, the Deputy Chairperson African Union Commission, Thomas Kwesi-Qartey acknowledged the leading role of Nigeria in the fight against corruption, especially illegal financial flow noted that the Common African Position in Asset Recovery commonly known as CAPAR, which the Nigerian government was instrumental to its adoption during the 33rd Ordinary Session of Assembly of Heads of States and Governments of African Union held in February 2020 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 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, to repatriate, and to effectively manage the illicitly acquired assets in a manner that respects our sovereignty.”
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, in his message likened the fight against corruption to that of COVID-19 charged individuals to take personal responsibility. According to him, “We all need to take responsibility for the fight against Corruption as we take responsibility against infection of COVID-19. COVID-19 kills, but Corruption kills even more. ICPC alone cannot fight Corruption. We all must be involved. Failure to take responsibility is dangerous to self and the society.”