President Muhammadu Buhari has turned the tide against corruption to free Nigerians from the impacts of the menace.
Mr Akinremi Bolaji, Minister Plenipotentiary, Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the UN, said at High-level Debate Marking the 15th Anniversary of Adoption of UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCaC) in New York.
He said Nigeria was rich in both mineral and human resources, but due to poor management, including through corruption, it had become 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 through the 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.
Bolaji said that 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 can assist in combating illicit financial flows 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.