By Michael Eboh
The Federal Government, Tuesday, vowed to focus on the country’s electoral processes, and highlight vulnerabilities that might pose impediments to credible elections in 2019.
Speaking at an event marking the International Anti-Corruption Day 2019, Chairman of the National Stakeholders Working Group, NSWG, of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, Mr. Isah Mahmoud Dutse, noted that as Nigerians proceeds to the polls next year, it was imperative to sustain the already garnered momentum in the fight against corruption.
Dutse, who was represented by a member of the Board of the NSWG, Mr. Bernard Verr, explained that the Federal Government was aware that Nigeria has huge corruption problems that are historical, adding that the government was not relenting in its efforts to deal with the issue.
He said, “We continue to see quickening of efforts in enforcement and sanctions as well as innovative methods to prevent corruption. We are routinely assessing risks and vulnerabilities to corruption and reviewing our systems to tackle the anomaly from the roots.
“Our range of legislations and institutions show that we have significantly domesticated the provisions of global instruments in the area of prevention and criminalization as well as recovery of proceeds of corruption.
“The essence of government is to ensure and guarantee development and well-being of citizens. Anything which can constitute an impediment to this goal must be resisted.”
He further stated that citizens must also demand transparent and credible electoral processes focused on the issues relevant to sustainable development and well-being of citizens; effective and efficient implementation of laws and dissuasive sanctions for offences.
Dutse, who is also the Chairman of the Inter-Agency Task Team, IATT, added that citizens should place emphasis on tackling corruption from the roots and close the doors to illicit activities before they happen, noting that this would preserve the integrity of the country’s systems and save the country valuable resources for sustainable development.
He also advised that efforts should be sustained to make corruption risk assessments and implementing remediation and integrity plans a culture with Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDA, of government.
Also speaking, Ms. Lilian Ekeanyanwu, Head, Technical Unit on Governance and Anti-Corruption, TUGAR, the secretariat of the IATT, declared that there is an urgent need to clean up the country’s electoral processes so that Nigerians would actually have their choice reflected, stating that through that Nigerians can hold leadership accountable.
On his part, Executive Secretary of NEITI, Mr. Waziri Adio, reiterated that no society develops in an atmosphere of corruption, as in such situation, both the government and the citizens are losers.
Adio, who was represented by Director, Media of NEITI, Mr. Ogbonnaya Orji, said, “At the Federal Government a lot has been achieved but we should deploy more efforts to sub-national government. As we move into the election, we expect that this should also be an issue for all candidates who are looking forward to elective offices; what plans do you have?”