Nigeria’s economic problems traceable to corruption —Justice Minister

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has attributed current political, social and economic problems in Nigeria to corruption.

Malami, who delivered the keynote address at the National Open Government Partnership retreat on Monday, in Kaduna, said corruption remained Nigeria’s biggest impediment to attaining sustainable development.

According to him, the Federal Government is committed to driving out the culture of corruption in the country, by making governance more open, accountable and responsive to citizens.

He said the government would strengthen anti-corruption institutions, and the capacity of Nigerians to expose corrupt practices in all spheres of life.

Malami added that the government would implement programmes aimed at exposing and punishing corrupt public officials and providing support to victims of corruption.

The minister said Nigeria joined the open governance partnership in July 2016 as part of its commitment to deepening institutional and policy reforms for good governance.

He said the partnership was a multi-stakeholder initiative focused on improving transparency, accountability, citizens participation, and responsiveness to citizens through technology and innovation.

The minister said his ministry would drive the initiative through reforms of programmes on transparency and accountability.

Malami said the target was “to promote fiscal transparency, open procurement, open contracting, access to information, asset disclosure, citizen engagement and empowerment.”

“It is a journey that will take us from transparency and openness to national prosperity,” he added.

In his message for the event, Vice President Yemi Osibanjo also said the Federal Government remained on track in the ongoing fight against corruption.

Osibajno said one of the administration’s cardinal objectives was the eradication of corruption and restoration of the nation’s economy.

“That is why the administration is partnering OGP for open governance, to enable the government to receive first-hand information from citizens,” he said.

The vice president was represented by Dr Bilkisu Saidu, special assistant to the President on Research, Legal and Compliance Matters.

In his remark, the Kaduna State governor, Nasir el-Rufa’i, who was represented by his Deputy, Mr Bala Bantex, said the state was fully involved in the open governance initiative, adding that the initiative would help in getting result-oriented government.

The Chief Executive Officer, Open Government Partnership, Mr Sanjay Prodhan, commended the Nigerian government for its determination to end corruption in all aspects of life.

He said the organisation is involved in repositioning Nigeria and empowering citizens for overall national growth.