Nigeria making progress in anti-graft war, says Osinbajo

Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osibanjo says the Federal Government is making progress in the fight against corruption.

At an event to mark the International Anti-Corruption Day yesterday in Abuja, he noted that Nigeria had moved up from 28th position to 26th in the international transparency and corruption index.

Represented by his Special Adviser on Rule of Law, Mr. Akinkpolawo Adeniran, the vice president said between 2015 and 2016, the country moved to 11 spot in the Rule of Law index largely due to the current administration’s intensive anti-graft war.

He stated that the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, adopted by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in July this year, was to ensure presidential commitment on asset recovery, transparency and accountability in the management of public funds.

Osibanjo added that the framework provides incentive for sustainability in the fight against corruption as well as to improve the operational capacity of key anti-graft agencies.

The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, said citizens must remain engaged by demanding accountability and pushing the frontiers of good governance and sustainable development.

He noted that the nation had been at the vanguard for the repatriation of stolen assets from abroad.

However, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) has begun the interrogation of a former Director-General of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Alhaji Bature Umar Masari, over alleged N184.5 million fraudulent contracts.

He is being quizzed on his role in the alleged award N184, 469, 550 specialised and sundry contracts to unprofessional cronies in Plateau, Adamawa, Borno, Ekiti, Katsina and Ogun states as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

In a related development, the Acting chairman of the ICPC, Bako Abdullahi, says the nation’s woes have their root in corruption.

He described the menace as an epidemic that was frustrating the country’s democracy as well as undermining security and stunting development.

Addressing the global event put together organised by the North Central Zonal office of the commission in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Action Aid Nigeria, Voice of the Youth Initiative, Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change in Development (PIBCID) and Initiative for Grassroots Advancement in Lokoja, Kogi State, Abdullahi added that graft frustrates human rights, impedes provision of infrastructure and denies eligible citizens employment.

In the meantime, residents of Rivers State have applauded the five per cent reward for whistleblowers in the country.

The commendation came after the Zonal Head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ishaq Salihu, disclosed the percentage at a road walk in Port Harcourt to mark the occasion.

Salihu disclosed that the commission has recovered N2 billion this year, noting that yearly recovery before now had not exceeded N400 million.

Also yesterday, civil society groups in Edo State and the EFCC struck a partnership to fight the menace nationwide.

During a sensitisation rally in Benin City, they called on the citizens to rise up to the occasion.

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