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Africa Anti-corruption Day: Buhari seeks int’l anti-corruption court to try offenders

President Muhammadu Buhari, who is the African Ant-Corruption Champion, has called for the establishment of an International Anti-Corruption Court to try offenders.

He also urged African leaders to intensify the fight against corruption, and create more disincentives for pilfering of public funds.

Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s media aide, in a statement on Thursday night in Abuja, said Buhari was speaking in his recorded remark to celebrate the African Day of Anti-Corruption.

The president praised African leaders for gains so far recorded, admonishing that efforts must be intensified to prosecute offenders and collect resources that had been stored in other countries.

“Distinguished participants and fellow African leaders, corruption is evil and all efforts at tackling it are desirable. I have monitored the fight against corruption in Africa and I can see both successes and drawbacks.

”The battle must continue for the sake of the continent and its people no matter the difficulties.

“In Nigeria, the fight against corruption has been vigorous since 2015. A lot has been achieved in the areas of arrest, prosecution, conviction, asset recovery and anti-corruption laws.

“I must admit that the fight has not been a bed of roses. Truly, a lot of more work in many fronts is required.

”For example, civil and public servants must be ethical and professional at all times. The private sector must contribute in curving corruption. The international community needs to close safe havens.

”The judiciary requires more impetus. Perhaps, an International Anti-corruption Criminal Court is needed,” he said.

President Buhari said family and religious values would have to be upgraded, and schools have a lot of work to do for a better society.

“I am extremely delighted to address the participants as we celebrate the Africa Day of Anti-Corruption. Distinguished participants, we have come a long way in the fight against corruption in Nigeria and Africa in general.

“May I use this opportunity to appreciate fellow African leaders for their individual and collective efforts in fighting corruption on our continent. I appreciate all of you for the confidence reposed in me being the Africa Champion on Anti-Corruption.

“I understand that the theme for 2022 is ‘Strategy and Mechanisms for the Transparent Management of Covid-19 Funds, Lessons from the Pandemic.’ In Nigeria.

”We responded to the Covid-19 Pandemic swiftly and having tamed it, we have realized the need for more awareness campaigns on health issues and more investment in the health sector.

”Again, service delivery requires checkmating corruption,” he added.

According to him, African leaders must get rid of corruption in Africa if the continent is to realize its full potentials.

“I have come to realize that nations in Africa have to ensure that national resources are not taken to safe havens around the world and we must curtail Illicit Financial Flows in all its ramifications.

”Also, we must work collectively to recover all resources taken abroad. We must show looters that crime does not pay by depriving them of the proceeds of their crime.

”Also, elite greed and irresponsibility must be eradicated in Africa. Again, ethics, decency, decorum and respect for rule of law must be promoted in Africa.

”It is important to develop strategies for behavioral change in Africa if corruption is to be tamed. This will ensure that national resources are allowed to serve the population and not a tiny few,” he added.

He also said anti-corruption agencies must be empowered and allowed to deliver on their mandates.

“In Nigeria, I am very proud of our Anti-Corruption Agencies, our law enforcement agencies and our regulatory bodies for their efforts at checking criminality including corruption.

”I very deeply appreciate them for their sacrifices,” the President said.

Buhari noted that the fight against corruption must be sustained for the benefit of present and future generations.

“Our youths have no place to go and live with dignity but in Africa. As I am leaving office next year, I am proud to leave behind a legacy of fighting corruption among others.

“Personally, I abhor corruption and I will render my best in or out office to get rid of corruption in Nigeria and Africa in general.

”I urge our youths to join me in this noble cause,” he said.

He urged African leaders to work together at whatever level to get rid of corruption in Africa, adding “posterity will judge us right if we deal with corruption as appropriate.”

The president said it was imperative to kill corruption in Nigeria and Africa.

“It will give our citizens a better life,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) July 11 marks the day the African Union (AU) adopted the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combatting Corruption (AUCPCC) in Maputo, Mozambique on 11 July 2003.

NAN reports that on the day, Africans pause to reflect on anti-corruption progress in their communities, what is working, what is not, and what remains to be tried.

The Convention came into force in 2006.

As of August 2021, the Convention has been ratified by 44 Member States of the African Union.

The Anti-Corruption Day also helps Africa’s anti-corruption fighters share good lessons and practices. Asset recovery efforts are paying off in some member states.

NAN also reports that on June 21, Buhari said around 386 million dollars was recovered in 2021 through the whistleblowing policy enacted by his administration in an attempt to repatriate looted funds back into the country and curb corruption.

The president made this known in an interview with Bloomberg on the performance of his administration in the area of economic growth, security, and corruption since 2015 when he was elected president.

He said through the whistleblowing policy, established in the first year of his government, hundreds of millions in stolen funds have been returned to Nigeria.

“As an illustration, monetary recoveries (January-December) 2021 show that more [than] N152 billion has been recovered.

”Dollar recoveries for the year amount to over USD 386 million; GBP, more than 1.1 million; Euro, about 157,000; Saudi Riyals about 1.7 million some more in Digital and other currencies,” Buhari said.

(NAN)

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