ANEEJ stresses journalists’, CSOs’ roles in anti-graft campaign
The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) has announced that in a forthcoming workshop, it would stress the crucial role journalists and CSOs play in the campaign to rid Nigeria of graft by demystifying the concepts of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).
ANEEJ is implementing, the ‘Civil Society Advocacy to Support Anti-Corruption in Nigeria’ (CASAN), driven with support from the United Nations Development Programme under the European Development Fund (EDF).
A statement by ANEEJ’s executive director, The Rev. David Ugolor, outlined the goals of the CASAN project to include enhancing the capacity of CSOs and journalists to support anti-corruption effort by engaging the relevant arm/agencies of government on the implementation of OGP and UNCAC.
“As part of the project implementation, ANEEJ is holding this workshop to build the capacity of selected CSOs on the concept of OGP including the open contracting platform and the implementation of UNCAC in Nigeria including the second UNCAC review process, to support their policy advocacy and engagement with relevant arm/agencies of government around the issues,’ the statement said.
“Other phases which the ANEEJ workshop has been designed to focus on include the reparation of CSOs to participate in the 2nd UNCAC review circle, and to bring focal persons involved in the implementation of OGP and UNCAC review process to meet with CSOs.
‘We expect at the end of the meet that about 30 participants from the EFCC, TUGAR and the Ministry of Justice, MOJ, should have gotten a level of knowledge on the OGP and UNCAC implementation and review in Nigeria. We also expect them to be able to apply the knowledge to support their policy advocacy around the issues. We expect as well that the participating journalists should be able to use their platforms to report the issues they learnt during the workshop, identify gaps in domestic laws in compliance with UNCAC and also report on the implementation of the OGP National Plan.”
OGP is a multi-stakeholder initiative that focuses on improving government transparency, accountability and responsiveness to citizens through technology and innovation. The OGP was formally launched in 2011 when the eight founding governments (Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, the Philippines, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States) endorsed the Open Government Declaration, and announced their country action plans.
Since then, OGP has welcomed the commitment of 62 additional governments, bringing to 70 the number of countries that are currently members of the initiative. Nigeria formally joined the OGP in July 2016, two months after President Muhammadu Buhari attended the London Anti-Corruption Summit. So far, the Nigerian OGP National Action Plan (January 2017 – June 2019) has been developed with civil society and private sector input, which was launched in Kaduna in 2016 and also presented in France, December 7, 2016. One of the key deliverables of the OGP is the open contracting platform which the Bureau of Public Procurement is currently working on.
Nigeria signed on to the UNCAC in 2003 and ratified the convention in 2004, Nigeria has been actively involved in the negotiations leading to the review mechanism including attending all the CoSP since the convention came into force. The review process comprises two five-year cycles: The first cycle (2010–2015) covers chapter III on criminalization and law enforcement and chapter IV on international cooperation. The second cycle (2015–2020) covers chapter II on preventive measures and chapter V on asset recovery.