Nigeria receives fresh boost in fight against corruption

•As Open Government Partnership admits country as member

THE Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, has said that Nigeria has received a fresh boost in the fight against corruption.

Malami made this known at a stakeholders’ meeting on the London Summit on Anti-corruption and the Open Government Partnership (OGP), in Abuja, on Wednesday.

He said the country was resolute in the fight against corruption, noting that the OGP secretariat had confirmed that Nigeria was now a participating country.

The minister said this development underscored the progress the country was making in the anti-corruption fight.

“The Open Government Partnership is multilateral, multi-stakeholders’ initiative that aims to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption and harness technology to strengthen governance.

“It also provides a policy making platform that brings together governments through openness,” Malami said.

He said the importance of full disclosure, transparency and accountability in the conduct of government business could not be overemphasised in Nigeria.

According to him, Nigeria would work toward full implementation of the principles of open contractive data standards as it related to public procurement and fiscal transparency.

“The Public Procurement Act 2007 as amended is a legislation that is enacted to also promote openness in the conduct of government business in Nigeria.

“It’s objective is to ensure transparency, competitiveness value for money and professionalism in the public procurement system.

“Nigeria commits to partner with the law enforcement regulators and the financial sector to detect and prevent money laundering and will work together with interested countries,’’ he said.

Also, the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, challenged Nigerians to hold government accountable by asking relevant questions and demanding satisfactory answers.

Amaechi, however, said it was a disservice to any public official for people to make unsubstantiated allegations of corruption against them.

“I believe in name and shame and an open government. What name and shame does is to prevent such people for vying for public office,’’ he said.

On her part, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, said Nigeria’s confirmation by the OGP as a participating country was a milestone.

Ahmed said that Nigeria’s admittance into the OGP was instructive, particularly as the current administration was committed to transparency and accountability in governance.

She said her ministry was working toward ensuring an open budgeting and planning process in the country.

“We are committed to ensuring that the budget process from the preparation to the implementation and the monitoring and evaluation is open, participatory and inclusive,” Ahmed said.

In his remarks, the Deputy High Commissioner, British High Commission, Mr Simon Shercliff,  noted that corruption was the cancer at the heart of so many of the world’s problems.

“No country is immune to corruption and so, government need to work together to tackle it successfully,’’ Shercliff said.

He said the problem of corruption needed to be faced with all sincerity and not mere lip service, adding that corruption was a global problem that needed a global solution.

The meeting is aimed at bringing together public and private sector as well as civil society organisations.

This is to enable them to work with the Ministry of Justice in ensuring that the commitments to end corruption are turned into actionable plans.