…Solicits support of CSOs, trade unions for mass education against graft
Kehinde Akinpelu, Ilorin
The Economic and Financial Commission (EFCC) has said that the African continent is losing over fifty billion dollars to illegally acquired assets.
The commission said this on Thursday in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, during a walk to mark the 3rd African Union (AU) Anti-Corruption Day rally with the theme: “Towards a Common African Position on Asset Recovery”.
Speaking during the rally, the zonal head of EFCC, Mr. Ishiaku Sharu, said there is the need to strengthen International Cooperation among anti-corruption agencies in Africa for the purpose of developing a common position framework on assets recovery and return.
“The continent is losing over $50 billion yearly due to illegally acquired assets allocated all over the world and the process of tracing, freezing, management and eventual repatriation of assets is a long process, hence the need for the involvement of relevant instruments through international cooperation to repatriate stolen assets back to Africa,” he said.
He said the aim of the walk was to bring together all relevant anti-corruption stakeholders (Domestic and international) to reflect on the challenges of assets recovery in Africa and solicit contributions and support towards developing a framework for an African common position on assets recovery as well as to create awareness and engage the citizens in assets recovery efforts.
Sharu also added that the effort of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in the fight against corruption in Nigeria had brought significant recovery of looted assets acquired through mismanagement of public finds.
Kwara State Director of National Orientation Agency, Segun Adeyemi, who said that the presence of EFCC in the state is making impact with securing of conviction of some internet fraudsters, called on the society to guard against corruption.
The walk which commenced from EFCC office took participants through the Ahmadu Bello way, Challenge, Post office, Offa road, Tanke junction and ended at the EFCC office.
Shaku therefore appealed to all the stakeholders to join hands with the commission to ensure recovery of our common patrimony carted away by the looters, most importantly with the recent whistle blowing policy of the Federal Government.
Meanwhile, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday solicited the support of trade unions and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to facilitate mass education against corruption.
The South-East Zonal Head of the commission, Mr. Usman Imam, solicited the support at the 3rd African Anti-corruption Day celebration in Enugu.
Imam said that the effect of corruption had become hydra headed that CSOs, professional bodies, trade unions and others were needed to be fully involved in the fight against it.
He said that the EFCC was committed to winning the corruption war no matter how long it took, adding that to do that “Nigerians needed to join in the fight.
“Until Nigerians are determined to expose and hold public officials accountable for their stewardship and not see the fight from ethnic, political or religious perspectives, the war might never be won,” he said.
The EFCC zonal head said that the Federal Government had particularly made the fight against corruption and the recovery of stolen assets a key agenda for the current administration.
“This has translated to significant recoveries of public funds,” he said.
He said that the African anti-corruption day had its roots on series of events leading to an African Union Convention on Prevention and Combating Corruption adopted in Maputo, Mozambique on July 11, 2003.
“In cognizance of this, the African Union adopted July 11 as the African Anti-corruption Day and this year will mark the 3rd edition of the event,” he said.
Imam said that the objective of the event was to bring together all relevant anti-corruption stakeholders to reflect on the challenges of asset recovery in Africa.
He said that the event would be used to also solicit contributions and support toward a framework for an African Common Position on Asset Recovery.
“According to the High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows (IFF), the continent is losing in excess of 50 billion US Dollars annually through illicit financial outflows.
“A large portion of these outflows is made up of illegally acquired assets that are located all over the world.
“In Nigeria, just as every other African countries marking the occasion, we have been served with a very high dosage of the poison called corruption,” he said.
Imam said that Nigeria had one of the most far-reaching and deeply entrenched culture of corruption in the African continent.
“This is manifested in the increasing large number of corruption related investigations, litigations, convictions and recoveries made by the EFCC,” Imam added.
The event which had in attendance, officers of relevant government agencies, featured a road march around Enugu metropolis.