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Nigeria, UN okay document to facilitate return of loot, others

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GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – December 17, 2017: Allee des Nations (Avenue of Nations) of the United Nations Palace in Geneva, with the flags of the member countries.

The Federal Government in partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has launched a second report on Nigeria’s implementation of the United National Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) to facilitate asset recovery and return at the national and global levels.

The event, which held yesterday at the Presidential Villa and drew participants, including national and international anti-corruption experts, marked the 2019 International Anti-corruption Day.

The implementation of Chapter V of the Convention on Asset Recovery and Return was highlighted in Nigeria’s sustained campaign for return of stolen assets stashed in foreign jurisdictions to countries of origin.

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The United Nations Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, noted: “Corruption and insecurity are among the primary spoilers of sustainable development in 2015. When member-states adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, they recognised that one of the weaknesses of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) had been the failure to include corruption prevention among its targets.

“Recognising this omission, the Sustainable Development Goal 16 on Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions establishes several targets dedicated to the eradication of corruption, the strengthening of transparent and accountable institutions, the curbing of illicit financial flows and the recovery and return of stolen assets.”

Nigeria signed the convention on December 9, 2003 and ratified it on October 24, 2004.

Following its first review in 2014 when the most populous black nation was assessed by Lesotho and Montenegro for the implementation of Chapter III (Criminalisation and Law Enforcement) and of Chapter IV (International Cooperation), the second cycle review, which was conducted by Cote d’Ivoire and Myanmar and ended late 2019, focused on Nigeria’s compliance with the provisions of chapters II on Prevention; and V on Asset Recovery.

UNCAC has been ratified by 186 nations. Therefore, it is widely accepted as the global framework guiding the fight against corruption.

The latest report identified the country’s successes and good practices as well as the establishment of anti-corruption units across ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and the provision made for civil society consultations in the adoption of the national budget and the adoption of the Freedom of Information Act.

The document also s recognised Nigeria’s leadership in pursuing asset recovery cases and its readiness in sharing its wealth of experience with other countries facing a similar challenge.

Also, it identified a number of areas in which further improvements are required with a view to effectively implementing the provisions of the UNCAC such as achieving the complementarity of functions of the various anti-corruption bodies, provision of specific training for civil servants prone to graft and members of the judiciary.

According to the Director of the Division of Treaty Affairs of UNODC, John Brandolino, “states must not only continue their efforts to address any gaps identified, but they also must remain vigilant as to potential gaps that may be discovered, as corrupt practices sometimes find creative ways of circumventing existing measures.”

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