Corruption Threatens Our Planet, Says UN Sec-Gen

  • APC, TUGAR, NEITI, Others Speak On International Anti-Corruption Day 2019

The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has lamented the spate of corruption ravaging the world today.

In a message at the 2019 International Corruption Day held at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja on Monday, the Secretary-General, represented by the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon, said corruption threatened the future of our planet.

According to him, people are right to be angry about corruption and that Nigerians must unite to fight the monster.

On its part, the Technical Unit on Governance and Anti-Corruption Reforms (TUGAR), which is the secretariat of the Inter-Agency Task Team with anti-corruption and accountability mandates in Nigeria, rated Nigeria as being above average in the fight against corruption.

The Head of TUGAR, Ms Lilian Ekeanyanwu, said, “We are just trying to implement it and also track the progress. So far I think we are doing well. I will rate us above average in the anti-corruption fight in Nigeria.

“This is because if you look at the number of high-profile people who have been sanctioned for corruption in Nigeria, there are very few countries that have achieved this.

“It is only one country that has a death penalty for corruption, but many others are still struggling to sanction the calibre of people we have successfully sanctioned in Nigeria.

“I know that law enforcement and the judicial process is slow, but we are consistently doing a lot in that effect. And when it comes to prevention, it is amazing how much we have achieved.”

The TUGAR boss said a lot of monies had been saved through the Treasury Single Account and other similar policies and that these funds had been used to support the poor.

In his remarks, the representative of Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, said corruption had not only deprived Nigerians of opportunities but had also resulted in a lot of security challenges for the country.

On his part, the Chief Commissioner, Public Complaints Commission, (PCC) Hon. Chile Igbawua, said corruption was hydra-headed and that the PCC was a very good place to blow up corruption cases. According to him, PCC is the ombudsman and that it enjoys immunity, adding that when anyone gives information and wishes not to be identified, the PCC will protect the individual and take up the case as its own.

The National Programme Manager of Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (ROLAC), Danladi Plang, said there was every need to ensure that the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) was adopted by every state.

The Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau, Professor Mohammed Isah, said fighting corruption was not something that was restricted to a particular country or region or continent. He regretted that resources were being exploited day in day out, but, due to corruption, they were not having any impact on the citizens.

During a panel discussion on ‘A Strategic Approach to Fighting Corruption: The National Anti-Corruption Strategy and its Mechanism’, the Chairman of the Monitoring and Evaluation Committee of NACS, Mr Andrew Gandu, regretted the slow pace of implementation of the monitoring and evaluation aspect of NACS.

Open Treasury Portal Will Tackle Public Sector Corruption – APC

Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has commended President Muhammadu Buhari on the launch of the Open Treasury Portal (OTP), another initiative that will tackle public sector corruption and plug leakages in the public treasury.

In a statement, the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, said the launch of OTP was yet another giant step in our pursuit of open governance, transparency, and anti-corruption fight — electoral promises APC made to Nigerians.

The statement reads, “Those who want to do business with government should understand that henceforth, everything would be done in the open. Every Nigerian can now have access to every naira the government is making and every naira that the government is spending and on what it is being spent

“In the fight against public sector corruption, the OTP complements other initiatives such as the administration’s full implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) which has increased the level of accountability and transparency in the financial resources of the government; stoppage of budget padding, contrary to what we witnessed throughout the 16 years of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and pruning out thousands of ghost workers through stricter implementation of the Integrated Personnel Payroll System (IPPIS).

“To name a few of OTP’s requirements, all MDAs are to publish: daily reports of payments from N5m; monthly budget performance; quarterly financial statements; and annual financial statements prepared in compliance with International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS). All the reports are to be published within stipulated deadlines on the OTP portal which will be open to and can be accessed by all.

“The APC administration invites all who mean well for the country to support ongoing efforts at plugging revenue leakage, tackling graft and ultimately rebuilding our country. This is notwithstanding political and other affiliations. Countries progress when government and citizens put the interest of the nation above any other consideration.”

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