Nigeria Unites With The World In The Fight Against Corruption At Global Anti-Corruption Conference In Atlanta, USA
Atlanta (USA), 11 December 2023 – The Nigeria Delegation joins over 150 member states for the 10th Conference of States Parties in Atlanta to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).
Led by the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation (HAGF) and Minister of Justice, HE Mr. Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, the Nigerian delegation included representatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission, the Code of Conduct Bureau, the Corporate Affairs Commission, the Police Service Commission, the Nigeria Police Force in addition to the officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In addition to the official delegation, the Conference benefitted from a strong showing of Nigerian civil society organizations, such as the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISCLAC), the HEDA Resource Center, the African Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), the Center for Governance, Asset Recovery and Sustainable Development (African Center), the Centre for Fiscal Integrity and Transparency Watch (CeFTIW) amongst others.
In his statement, the Honourable Attorney-General stated that “Nigeria has suffered from the damaging effects of corruption including the loss of billions of dollars to foreign havens, stolen, and expatriated by corrupt leaders and their foreign accomplices including multinational companies. The diversion of such strategic resources continues to challenge Nigeria’s growth and development”.
He added that Nigeria has taken proactive measures to combat corruption, block leakages, and recover stolen assets. In this regard, he mentioned some of the achievements made by Nigeria in the last two decades following a stock-taking exercise embarked on by the government with UNODC support. One such achievement is the adoption of a roadmap for the implementation and deployment of a web-based ‘Beneficial Ownership Register’, encompassing all sectors in the country. Nigeria is also sponsoring a draft follow-up resolution on Beneficial Ownership titled “Enhancing Transparency and the Use of Beneficial Ownership Information to Strengthen Asset Recovery”. Sponsoring a total of six resolutions on the topic of asset recovery, international cooperation and beneficial ownership transparency during the past Conferences of States Parties, Nigeria has significantly contributed to the development of international policy and standards in the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption. Another achievement highlighted in the statement of the Honorable Attorney General was the establishment of the Nigerian Open Contracting Portal for increased disclosure of procurement information to all stakeholders. The portal will ensure improved transparency and accountability processes in procurement. It will also help enhance active citizen participation for better service delivery and improved ease of doing business.
The Honourable Attorney-General outlined some key priorities for Nigeria in the fight against corruption, including criminal justice reform, asset recovery, beneficial ownership transparency, and curbing illicit financial flows.
The Honourable Attorney-General also gave a brief statement at the action series organized by the Global Forum on Asset Recovery (GFAR) on the sideline of the COSP. In his statement, he acknowledged the recent return of USD 1 million to Nigeria by the US Government of proceeds of a corruption case involving the former Governor of Bayelsa State, the late Depriye Alamieyeseigha.
He also expressed the willingness of the Nigerian government to cooperate with the French authorities in accelerating the return of an additional USD 150 million of the Abacha loot.
Nigeria’s Statistician General, Prince Adeyemi Adeniran, joined UNODC’s Executive Director Ghada Waly, the Italian Minister of Justice Carlo Nordio, the World Bank’s Global Director for Governance and Ghana’s Government Statistician, Professor Samuel Kobina Annim in discussing the role of corruption measurement to trigger action and assess impact. Recalling the national corruption surveys conducted in 2016 and 2019 respectively, and the 3rd national corruption survey ongoing, he outlined some of the policy reforms these exercises in data collection and analysis had managed to drive.
Nigerian Government officials, members of civil society, academia, and the private sector also participated actively in dozens of other side events sharing achievements as well as challenges in preventing and tackling corruption, including the Stolen Asset Recovery Day and the meeting of the Global Operational Network of Law Enforcement Authorities (GlobE).
Safeguarding people, institutions and the economy from corruption and illicit financial flows is a priority also for UNODC’s work in Nigeria. Our Strategic Vision 2030 for Nigeria which was developed in close consultations with the Nigerian Government, civil society, private sector, academia as well as development partners, aims to support the Nigerian Government and people to increase integrity and accountability of Nigerian institutions and individuals and to enhance the recovery and return of stolen assets.