Tuesday 21 November 2017


A new dawn seems to have been birthed on the 20th of November, 2017 in Abuja when the interactive session between the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to President Buhari on Justice Reform, Barr. Juliet Ibekaku, and CSOs emphasised the need for the latter to collaborate with government by monitoring fund recovery. The forum was part of the 'Buharimeter Dialogue series'  hosted by Centre for Democracy & Development (CDD), with support from Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), UKaid and DFID.

I was at the event as a member of the CSO community in Nigeria. Some other NGOs and CBOs, apart from the convener, CDD, were present. Specifically, CSOs were being invited to monitor the recovery of $321m loot with the Swiss government. See for example   https://t.co/816KJSUuLs   https://guardian.ng/news/csos-to-monitor-recovery-of-321m-loot-with-swiss-government.

In my intervention, I was concerned about the fact that investigations into allegations of corruption are done in a 'slip-shoddy' manner which makes prosecution difficult and convictions almost always impossible. Ibekaku's response was that the on-going reforms in the criminal justice system would address the process of investigation in a more orderly fashion.

Many of the NGOs and CBOs were worried about the terms of reference (TOR) for engagement with government on the recovery of the said loot. Ibekaku said the NGOs should get back to government as regards their thoughts on the subject matter. All the viewpoints would then be harmonised to produce a final TOR. Besides, the Open Government Partnership (OGP) - OGP Nigeria National Action Plan (NAP) document was launched on behalf of the FGN by Ibekaku.

The CSOs want the recovered loot channeled into 'social safety nets' for the populace while the government is interested in using same to fund the 2018 budget. For the CSOs, government could use such recovered loot to fund the budget, provided the money is channeled into projects that would positively affect disadvantaged groups in the society. Bilateral agreements on recovery of assets have  been secured with many countries, including the UK, France, USA, UAE, etc. Ibekaku said the ICPC and EFCC Acts need to be reviewed to accommodate seizure and confiscation of Nigeria's stolen monies domiciled in foreign countries.  

 While we await the fine-tuning of the TOR, this is indeed a welcome initiative that would further 'cement' government-CSOs positive collaboration for the empowerment of Nigerian citizens.

Related Links

*Action Aid, others, blame Nigeria's slow economic development on corruption    https://leadership.ng/actionaid-others-blame-corruption-for-nigerias-economic-woes/
*3 ways to fight corruption and restore trust in leadership: Corruption costs the world $3.6trn a year    https;//buff.ly/384heWd    weforum.org
*Kleptocracy: The need for an International Anti-Corruption Court    https://tcd.ie/business/ethics-speakers-series/tlk-mark-wolf.php

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