" ITREALMS: Confab on anti-corruption sets agenda for Tinubu - ITREALMS

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Confab on anti-corruption sets agenda for Tinubu - ITREALMS

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The President, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has been tasked on the immediate need to decisively fight corruption to halt the country’s possible drift into a major economic crisis amidst reports that Nigeria loses about $60billion every year to corruption.
Confab on anti-corruption sets agenda for Tinubu - ITREALMS
The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre), local and international partners set the anti-corruption agenda for the new administration at the two-day National Anti-Corruption conference held in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The event with theme “Nigeria and the Fight against Corruption: Reviewing the Buhari Regime and Setting Agenda for the Tinubu Administration” organized by HEDA Resource Centre and Centre for Fiscal Transparency and Integrity Watch (CFTI) was attended by no fewer than 80 participants drawn from across the country, foreign countries and institutional bodies representatives. It began on Tuesday and ended on Wednesday. The summit is coming at the 20 years anniversary of the African Union, AU Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption declaration which took place in July 2003.

HEDA observed that Nigeria with a debt portfolio of N77trillion, inflation rate at 23 percent, GDP at 2.35 percent coupled with unrelenting zeal for graft by public officials, a bold step needed to be taken by the new government to block waste, stop corruption and recreate a new public confidence to save the country from social crisis.

Some of the agenda set for the new Government is to fast track the whistleblower law, payment of backlog of royalties by oil companies, anti-corruption courts for speedy prosecution of corruption cases, firm implementation of the public procurement law, accountability on the part of political actors among others. The National Assembly was also charged to affirm Nigeria’s readiness to join the international Special Task Force on Corruption, SATF to enable efficient recovery of illicit funds.

Participants also listed the retrieval of billions of funds paid to phantom oil subsidy in the past years, oil theft, public funds stolen by political actors and a significant cut in the cost of governance as some of the critical steps that Tinubu needed to take to save the country.

Represented at the event were the Vice President Kashim Shetimma, Inspector General of Police, (IG), Mr Kayode Egbetokun, National Security Adviser, Mr Nuhu Ribadu, the National Assembly, the Judiciary, Ministry of Interior and international partners, the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, the United States and Dutch Embassies, MacArthur Foundation, World Bank, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, labour, media and the civil society.

Speaking at the event, Mr Femi Falana, (SAN) said Nigeria said billions of dollars are lost by Nigeria to oil theft and the refusal of oil companies to pay the total expected tax amounting to billions over the past years without sanctions. He said Nigeria has failed put the mechanism in place to determine how many litres of oil are taken from the country’s onshore and offshore.

However, Managing Director of Nigeria Upstream Regulatory Commission, (NURC) Mr Gbenga Komolafe, said a new equipment has been acquired by the commission that would monitor every liter of oil take from Nigeria adding that the new initiative will create a paradigm shift in oil related revenue generation in the country.

HEDA Chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, noted that there have been no reasons to believe that there was going to be any serious fight against corruption given the experiences in the past years. He said Nigeria’s hope is rekindled by the iron cast will of Nigerians and the irresistible wind of change blowing against corruption across the world of which Nigeria cannot be an exception.

Suraju said there was the need to set agenda for constructive CSO engagement with the new regime to develop the framework for good governance.

Falana, while delivering his lead presentation on the theme: Effective recovery of illicit assets and blocking opportunities for Illicit Financial Flow; Role of international frameworks, Bodies, Courts and instruments in a context of new dispensation said that Illicit financial flow is a challenge. “Illicit financial flow is a challenge to Nigeria and the recent devaluation of Nigeria currency. Civil servants cannot live on their salaries which night draw them to corruption.”

The National Security Adviser Mallam Nuhu Ribadu expressed commitment of the Tinubu-led administration to build the capacity of investigators, as part of efforts to enhance the war against corruption in the civil service and Nigeria as a whole.

Ribadu represented by the Special Adviser, Legal Department, NSA, Anthony Oluborode maintained that a cap will be placed on fiscal expenditures for construction of government buildings and salaries related compensation, packages of elected officials, adding that such expenditure will have a low priority in the Tinubu-led administration and transparent.

Other participants were representatives of West Africa Association of Internal Audit Practitioners, Mr Noble Patrick Nzechukwu, Chartered Institute of Taxation, Samuel Olushola,Centre for Fiscal Transperancy and Integrity Watch, Journalists for Democratic Rights, Adewale Adeoye, National Orietation Agency, NOA, Dr Garba Abari, Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Prof Sadiq Isah Rada , PACAC, Prof Jide Fowowe of the University of Ibadan, Hon Justice John Terhemba Tsoho.

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