By Jeremiah Urowayino
ABUJA—The Media and Communication Assistant to the Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption (PACAC), Mr. Aghogho Agbahor has said that the concept of a National Anti-Corruption Strategy, (NACS) is to improve governance in public institutions at federal, state and local government levels.
Agbahor made this known in an interview with newsmen yesterday in Abuja.
According to him, “Corruption in its many forms remains one of the most significant obstacles to progress in modern Nigeria, just as it has throughout much of human history. It undermines development, promotes lack of trust in the public service and weakens the legitimacy of public institutions by eroding their capacity to advance and protect the public interest. Corruption encourages selfish tendencies among the elite and distorts incentives in the private sector.
“Corruption has negative impacts on efficiency, investment climate and overall levels of economic growth. It disproportionately hurts the interest of the poor and the marginalized in the society especially women and children. The rising scale of organized criminality, wide spread violence, armed struggle and of late terrorism sweeping through our national landscape has been directly and indirectly attributed to corruption. The need for an all-out fight against corruption is more imperative now than ever to save the country from further decay.
“The National Anti-Corruption Strategy document is therefore an attempt to provide a coordinated National policy that will guide all sectors and stakeholders in the fight against corruption. It mainstreams the principles of transparency as reflected in the policies of the Open Government Partnership (OGP, Beneficial Ownership, Asset Recovery and Management which Nigeria is currently implementing and recognizes that governments are likely to be more effective and credible when governance is subjected to public scrutiny, input and oversight. It promotes the rebuilding of capacities of institutions involved in the fight against corruption for better coordination of roles, and reduction of any forms of vulnerabilities and perverse incentives that may hinder effectiveness among such anti-corruption and law enforcement institutions.
“The strategy is designed to intervene at legal, policy, technical and institutional levels within the public and private sectors. At the policy level, the objective is to put in place a system which promotes an increased alignment of private and public interest, while at the institutional level, the strategy aims to strengthen the effectiveness, efficiency, and synergy of the institutions, laws and measures designed to prevent and combat corruption as well as engage the public more actively.
“The strategy (2017-2021) seeks to develop and implement mechanisms aimed at removing corruption related factors inhibiting their accessibility and capacity to deliver quality services to Nigerians. At the level of private sector and society as a whole, the strategy seeks to promote the establishment of ethical standards where they do not exist and the improved enforcement of such standards where they exist. The strategy promotes ethnically orientation for improved personal ethics and ethical conduct in nation building which will guide citizens from the cradle to the grave.
‘’The concept will promote a multi-pronged approach with an initial focus on strengthening the capacities of the dedicated anti-corruption and public accountability bodies, mainstreaming of anti-corruption and governance principles into the work of the MDAs at the federal level, strengthening accountability, integrity and transparency at the state and local government levels. The strategy has outlined clear objectives of changing the logic of corruption and anti-corruption in Nigeria, by adopting an approach based on five pillars of prevention; public engagement; ethical re-orientation in the public and private sectors; enforcement and sanctions and recovery and management of proceeds of corruption. It proposes interventions at policy, technical and institutional levels and aligns the objective in the fight against corruption with major government policies especially the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). At each level, it will be interlaced with monitoring and evaluation components designed to ensure effective prioritization of mandates, synergy and collaboration as well as adequate public engagement.’’