Despite concerns about the increase in corruption cases in the country, anti-graft agencies and development partners on Tuesday renewed their commitment to combating the menace, saying it was possible.

They expressed their optimism in Abuja during the 2023 African Union Anti-Corruption Day in Abuja, organised by the Inter-Agency Task Team in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, MacArthur Foundation and the Centre for Democracy and Development, with the theme, ‘African Union convention on preventing and combating corruption 20 years after: Achievements and prospects’.

The Acting Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abdulkarim Chukkol, highlighted the effects of corruption, including poor infrastructure, economic and political crises, poverty, and security challenges.

He expressed concern about the involvement of youths in economic and financial crimes, particularly cybercrime.

“Corruption is one monster that has troubled and remains a huge challenge to Africa.

“When the so-called future leaders are themselves enmeshed in the criminality of uncommon dimension, it is difficult to imagine what the future holds for Africa,” Chukkol said.

The EFCC chairman expressed optimism and determination that corruption can be fought and defeated.

“A corrupt-free Nigeria, or corrupt-free Africa, is not an Eldorado”, he said.
The Solicitor-General of the Federation, Beatrice Jedy-Agba emphasised the need to combat corruption for the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals.

“To ensure progress, we must take steps to combat corruption which is one critical factor that relegates democracy, security and development to the backseat”, she said.

The National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, drew attention to the root causes of corruption, including the erosion of value systems.

He stressed the need for value reorientation and attitudinal change among citizens to strengthen their moral character.

According to him, corruption contributes to poverty, hunger, and unemployment, which in turn can generate insecurity at various levels.

The Director of the Centre for Democracy and Development, Idayat Hassan, underscored the importance of the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption, a multilateral instrument adopted 20 years ago to combat corruption.

She commended the 48 African countries that have ratified the AUCPCC and urged the remaining seven to follow suit.
Hassan stated that effectively combating corruption required building strong and capable institutions that deepen democratic values and justice and support gender equality.

She also highlighted the need for African states to halt the financial haemorrhage and recover illicit assets taken from the continent, citing Nigeria’s progress in tracking and recovering stolen assets through improved international cooperation.

Despite the progress made, all speakers agreed that there is still much work to be done.

They urged for consistent and sustained efforts on various fronts and the adoption of innovative strategies to meet the ever-expanding corruption typologies and taxonomies.

“The Africa we want can only be achieved through the diligent implementation of the provisions of the AUCPCC and state parties renewing their unalloyed commitments to it,” Hassan concluded.


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