CSO Committee supports government anti-corruption efforts, maps agenda for 2016Mar 15, 2016
A group of Nigerian civil society organizations (CSOs) have called on the Federal Government to ensure transparency in the recovery and management of corruptly acquired assets to stem the vicious cycle of re-looting of previously recovered assets.
In a statement in Abuja at the end of their fifth session, the organizations, meeting under the auspices of the CSO Advisory Committee for the EU funded Project “Support to Anti-Corruption in Nigeria”, which is being partly implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), noted that lessons from the looting of previously recovered assets underscored the need for such transparency.
They observed that the lack of transparency so far in the recovery and management of assets had also undermined public and international confidence in the Nigerian Government, resulting in the unhealthy practice of other countries imposing conditions for the repatriation to Nigeria of corruptly acquired assets held in those countries.
Calling for the inclusion of CSOs in any transparency framework, with clearly defined roles, the organizations suggested that any arrangement should enable citizens and members of the public to know how much has been recovered at any point in time, where the assets are domiciled, what authority or agency has control of such assets as well as under what circumstances and for what purposes the assets would be utilized.
The organizations reaffirmed support for the Federal Government's anti-corruption efforts and commended the political will as well as the tenacity of the Government in fighting the menace of corruption. They expressed their readiness to support the Government’s efforts through advocacy, citizens' mobilization and partnership with anti-corruption agencies.
The participating CSOs welcomed the updates provided at the meeting by the Project Team on past and ongoing project activities, including information on the status of the planned grants to support activities by CSOs. They also exchanged information on ongoing anti-corruption initiatives and activities within their respective organizations, and explored opportunities for synergy, collaboration and enhanced partnership among them.
The meeting resulted in the finalisation and adoption of a set of activities to be implemented and targeted at CSOs in the course of 2016, under which UNDP will support CSOs with grants to implement critical anti-corruption and transparency programmes across the Federation as well as undertake and support thematic interventions to address specific issues relating to corruption.
The CSOs acknowledged that the planned projects would strengthen their institutional and technical capacity in anti-corruption engagement, increase their advocacy on anti-corruption initiatives, improve their capacity in project and grants management, enhance coordination among the different CSOs and foster synergy between the CSOs and Anti-Corruption Agencies. They also noted that the activities will assist in strengthening CSOs-Government partnerships to fight corruption.
Stakeholders present at the meeting, which was held in Abuja on 9 March 2016, included, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Zero Corruption Coalition (ZCC), Muslim League for Accountability (MULAC), Media Rights Agenda (MRA), Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), Centre for Social Justice (CENSOJ), Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC), Action Aid Nigeria (AA), Publish What You Pay (PWYP), and Integrity.
Institutional members include the Technical Unit on Governance and Accountability Reform (TUGAR), Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the European Union (EU), United Nations Office for Drug and Crimes (UNODC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).Mr.