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February 26, 2024
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President Bola Tinubu

CSOs task Tinubu on reviving anti-corruption fight

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By Angela Atabo
A coalition of 30 Anti-corruption Civil Society Organisations have called on President Bola Tinubu to revive anti-corruption fight in the country and reel out agenda to curb its spread.
Spokesperson for the group, Mr Auwal Rafsanjani, who is also the Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), made the call on Tuesday in Abuja.
Rafsanjani said that the nation had been plagued with corrupt practices manifesting in different forms for many years and these has resulted in slowness in the judicial process.
He listed low reporting of corrupt practices by citizens due to mistrust in the system, lack of whistle blower and witness protection law to protect whistle-blowers, underfunding of anti-graft agencies and non-adherence to laws as part of corruption.
He said that the absence of political will at the highest level of government and the lack of implementation of the Freedom of Information Act, Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act, political corruption among others as other causes of corruption.
He, therefore, said the group made some recommendations like the Federal Government should pass the Whistle-blower and Witness Protection Bill into law.
The recommendation according to him, also include full implementation of the National Strategy on anti-corruption and the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 across all the states of the Federation including the FCT.
“Compulsory capacity building exercise for staff of public institutions on the provisions of the Public Procurement Act, 2007, the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act, 2022 and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 2011.
“Effective monitoring and implementation of the Beneficial Ownership register in full compliance with the provisions of CAMA for improved transparency and accountability in public procurement processes.
“Effective implementation of the provisions of the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act, 2022, Fiscal Responsibility Act, the Money Laundering and Prohibition Act, 2022 and OGP NAP III.”
Rafsanjani called for improved funding for ICPC and Code of Conduct Bureau as well as review by the National Assembly of the provisions of the Acts establishing the ICPC, EFCC and Code of Conduct Bureau regarding the mode of appointment of the Chairman and other key laws used to prosecute cases .
He said that these would also result in increased number of convictions of politically exposed persons (PEP) by the EFCC and ICPC.
“In amending the enabling Acts of the anti- corruption agencies, we suggest security of tenure for heads of these agencies.
“Investigation of all public officers and politically exposed persons (PEP) named in the Pandora papers, Panama Papers, Paradise Papers, Genko scandal and FinCEN Files.
“While those found guilty be made to face the full wrath of the law as a deterrent to others,” he said.
He also called for reform of financial institutions such as CBN and commercial banks, FIRS, Nigerian Ports Authority and Maritime sector. These have become money laundering gateways.
Rafsanjani said that there was the need to take concrete steps to foster great judicial independence by institutionalisng real financial autonomy for the judiciary.
He said this currently depended on disbursements that were often delayed by the executive.
He said the group demanded that anti-corruption and security agencies demonstrated greater transparency with regards to their budgets and expenditures, developing strategic capacity-building spending plans.
He urged the government to prioritise the need to ensure that information and data in the oil and gas sector was provided.
He called for the need to engage state government to align with all anti-corruption strategies and initiatives at the federal level and in particular, get all those states that have not domesticated the Freedom of Information Act to do so,
Rafsanjani said that there was need to improve and strengthen the autonomy, independence and institutional capacity of state-level anti-corrupting agencies and create better synergy between them and their counter-parts at the federal level.
“There should be respect for civil space by those in authority. Civil Society Organisations and citizens should have the liberty of expressing themselves regarding issues of governance and well-being of citizens without fear of intimidation or harassment.
“Government should see the role CSOs play as complimentary rather than antagonistic.
“For genuinely confidential procurements in the Defense Sector, we recommend that a separate legal procedure should be designed allowing for monitoring by a confidential Senate Committee.”
Rafsanjani said the group also recommended that the National Assembly should fast tracks the process of reviewing the obsolete current audit act to empower the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation in discharging his duty. (NAN)
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Edited by Isaac Aregbesola

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