By Prudence Arobani
New York – The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has turned the tide against corruption for Nigeria, Mr Akinremi Bolaji, Minister Plenipotentiary, Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the UN, has said.
Bolaji, who stated this in his remarks at High-level Debate Marking the 15th Anniversary of Adoption of UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCaC) in New York, regretted the impacts of corruption on Nigeria.
He said Nigeria was rich in both mineral and human resources but due to poor management, including through corruption, became a mono-cultural economy seriously lacking in critical infrastructure and underdeveloped.
The Nigerian envoy said: “This is despite the huge revenue gotten from sales of crude oil as a member of OPEC.
“However, with the advent of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015, the tide has turned for Nigeria in the area of fight against corruption and gradual diversification of the economy.
“The success in the fight against corruption in Nigeria was rightly acknowledged in the remarks made by the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guteress, and we thank him for it.
“The point being made here is that good leadership is sine qua non in the fight against corruption”.
Bolaji said worthy of note under the current administration was the Whistleblower Protection Policy and the strict implementation of the Treasury Single Account for all government revenue.
He said the success at home had brought international recognition to Nigeria in its fight against corruption with the AU appointing Buhari as the Champion Against Corruption for 2018.
He explained that many activities were being executed in pursuit of the championship, including the convening of African Youth Congress against Corruption and the launch of the Pan African Network of Youth against Corruption.
Bolaji said at the UN, Nigeria had joined hands with other Member States to adopt, by consensus, the General Assembly Resolution A/72/206.
The Resolution focused “on promotion of international cooperation to combat illicit financial flows and strengthening good practices on assets return to foster sustainable development”.
He emphasised the impact of the non-repatriation of illicit funds on the capacity of the States of origin to realise human rights and the importance of international assistance and cooperation in addressing the problem of illicit financial flows.
Bolaji said: “Measures that could assist in combating illicit financial flows could include, to severely penalise public officials involved in such acts.
“Policies like naming and shaming of persons who have been indicted, visa denials for indicted persons, penalising foreign banks who help in money laundering should be embraced”.
He said the Nigerian delegation recommended the establishment of ‘special account or escrow account’, with Development Banks for safe keeping of tracked and frozen illicit funds.
“We recommend the elevation of illicit financial flows, including corruption, Tax avoidance and related practices to become crimes against humanity,” the Nigerian envoy said.