Thursday, 1 June 2017

Why Nigeria is finding it difficult to fight corruption – Presidency

Why Nigeria is finding it difficult to fight corruption – Presidency

The Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Justice Sector Reforms, Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu, has said that the absence of a common understanding of what corruption means in the Nigerian context was responsible for the delay in the development of a National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS).
She also said that the lack of a National Anti-Corruption Strategy was the major factor responsible for the difficulties encountered in the fight against corruption in Nigeria.
The Presidential aide stated this in Abuja at a one-day workshop on Open Government Partnership and the Anti-Corruption Commitments of the Federal Government which was jointly organized by the Federal Ministry of Justice, the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) and Partners Global.
She said that although Nigerians considered having a National Anti-Corruption Strategy an important blueprint for tackling corruption, the civil societies had left its articulation and development in the hands of government forgetting that government officials ‘will do it at their own pace.’
According to her, in the past nine years, what the government has been able to achieve with regards to the anti-graft war was the development of institutional strategies for the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Commission (ICPC), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) at the expense of an umbrella strategy that will coordinate a national effort around the fight against corruption.

She also said that the interpretation of corruption as passed down by the Europeans does not fit into the Nigerian context because of the plurality and political-economy of the country.
Ibekaku-Nwagwu, who also functions as the national coordinator of Open Government Partnership (OGP) said: “Let me speak briefly on the Nigerian National Anti-Corruption Strategy.
“Most of you know that in the past nine years, Nigeria has struggled to come up with a National Anti-Corruption Strategy. It is not because we don’t consider it important but because the Nigerians have left it for government.
“For too long, our civil societies have left it in the hands of government forgetting that government officials will do it at their own pace.
“When we came into office, I worked with the previous government starting from 2009; we started debating what the National Strategy on Anti-Corruption should look like. In 2010, we decided that we were going to first develop the institutional strategies.
“And so, we started with the ICPC, the EFCC, and the CCB. We were able to get the anti-corruption strategies for those three core anti-corruption agencies well laid out.
“But we needed something to call a national effort around fighting corruption. Till today, we have not even achieved it.
“Just a few days ago, a book called “Collective Action on Corruption in Nigeria: A Social Norms Approach to Connecting Society and Institutions” was launched by the Royal Institute of International Affairs, London; and one of the findings reported in that book which I agree with is that Nigerians still do not have a common understanding of what corruption is. And, this is why it is so difficult to really tackle that problem.
“As you move from one society in the world to another, you find that the meaning of corruption changes, because the interpretation of corruption as given to us by the Europeans may not really fit into our society.
“To effectively fight corruption, we need to come to a common understanding of what corruption is based on our plurality and political-economy of Nigeria.
“Are we going to have a distinct interpretation before we come to a common understanding before we now define a strategy?
“I think that is what has really hampered the development of that National Strategy on Anti-Corruption.”

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