Monday, 4th December 2023

30 CSOs demand Tinubu’s blueprint against corruption

By Fehintola Adewale, Abuja
21 June 2023   |   4:05 am
A coalition of over 30 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), yesterday, urged President Bola Tinubu to unveil his plans towards strengthening fight against corruption and blocking avenues through which corrupt practices are perpetrated.

President-elect Bola Tinubu

• Want investigation of persons named in Pandora, Panama Papers, others
A coalition of over 30 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), yesterday, urged President Bola Tinubu to unveil his plans towards strengthening fight against corruption and blocking avenues through which corrupt practices are perpetrated.

Speaking on behalf of the CSOs, Auwal Rafsanjani, Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), said the Muhammadu Buhari administration left so many interludes through legal frameworks, which resulted in ineffectiveness and failure of anti-corruption institutions and initiatives.

“The newly sworn-in President Bola Tinubu does not seem to have the issue of anti-corruption as priority on his agenda, despite the fact that corruption has eaten deeper into every sector of our society and is crippling the country like an epidemic.

“From his campaigns to his manifesto, the President has not shown to Nigerians his anti-corruption agenda and clear plans on how his administration intends to fight corruption, which is quite worrisome,” he said.

Rafsanjani urged the Tinubu-led administration to make the fight against corruption a serious one, saying the confrontation should be collective and should not be allowed to further ruin the country.

He also urged the new government not to consider any person with corruption cases for political appointment.

Speaking on consequences of corruption, the CISLAC boss stressed that over the years, Nigerians have continued to suffer inadequate access to basic social amenities and service delivery, such as health care, good roads, electricity, clean water and education, due to in-depth corruption that has ravaged the system.

He said: “Many Nigerian households cannot boast of three-square meals, getting employment into government institutions is no longer on merit but on “who you know” basis, individuals have to pay one form of bribe or the other to access basic services from public institutions.

“Despite paying taxes, majority of Nigerians barely enjoy any benefits from government. Just recently, the government removed subsidy from petrol without putting measures in place to cushion the effect, which is untold hardship on ordinary Nigerians. Prices of goods and services have increased, yet the minimum wage of civil servants has not been increased.

“The system is riddled with various forms of corruption such as nepotism, misappropriation of funds, abuse of office, among others.”

The CSOs recommended immediate passage and assent to the whistleblowers bill, reformation of Federal Ministry of Justice, and citizens’ inclusion in the fight against corruption.

Other recommendations include: 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; improved funding for anti-graft agencies; 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 and the effective implementation of provisions of the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act, 2022, Fiscal Responsibility Act, Money Laundering and Prohibition Act, 2022 and OGP NAP III.

In amending the enabling Acts of anti-corruption agencies, the CSOs suggested tenure security for heads of anti-graft agencies.

They also called for investigation of 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 should be made to face full wrath of the law as deterrent to others.

They urged the Tinubu-led government to take concrete steps to foster judicial independence by institutionalising financial autonomy for the sector, which currently depends on disbursements that are often delayed by the executive. They demanded that anti-corruption and security agencies demonstrate greater transparency, with regards to their budgets and expenditures, developing strategic capacity-building spending plans.

The CSOs added: “To this end, more respected technocrats, jurists and civil society figures should be appointed to serve on the boards of anti-corruption agencies and reduce the de facto control board members have over staffing and operational decisions.

“You (Tinubu) should provide a well-designed and operational system of asset declaration that can be an important element in the overall anti-corruption and integrity system, through ‘asset declaration available for public scrutiny’.”

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