ANEEJ wants speedy assent to anti-corruption bills

The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to anti-corruption laws in order to give bite to the fight against corruption.

According to the Civil Society Organisation,the Whistleblower Protection Bill and the Witness Protection Bill, when signed into law will further encourage citizens to report corruption cases.

The Executive Director, Rev David Ugolor, said this at the just concluded Two-day stakeholders dialogue on National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS II) and Pending Anti-Corruption Bills in Abuja.

The stakeholders is part of the ANEEJ-SCALE project tagged Enhancing Anti-corruption and Social Inclusive Reform Initiatives in Nigeria.

Ugolor who was represented by the Senior Program Manager ANEEJ, Innocent Eden explained that the NACS seeks to develop and implement mechanisms to improve the governance of public institutions at the Federal, State and Local Government levels and to remove corruption related factors inhibiting their accessibility and capacity to deliver quality services to Nigerians.

He said at the level of the private sector and society, the strategy seeks to promote the establishment of ethical standards where they do not exist and enforcement of such standards where they exist.

He said the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) is implementing the SCALE project as the anchor for the anti-corruption cluster of 8 partner CSOs under the Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE) project, working to promote and engage in anti-corruption and social inclusive policy reforms through multi-stakeholder initiatives at both national and sub-national levels in Nigeria, as well as promote reforms in the development commissions established by federal and state governments to develop the Niger Delta region.

“The SCALE project is a 5-year project being implemented by Palladium and its resource partners with funds from USAID. It is designed to enhance local civil society organizations’ ability to be positive and responsible change agents in Nigeria.

He said the number of public institutions in Nigeria are not working effectively to deliver on their mandates to the citizens, this has amplified the corruption situation in the country.

Also, the Project Manager of the Anti-corruption cluster under SCALE project ANEEJ, Erhisohwode Assurance Ovie in his paper presentation said the non-formation and inauguration of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) as provided for in the NACS document, posed a major hindrance to the implementation of the NACS.

He explained that under the policy, the IMC has the responsibility for facilitating the Anti-corruption Funding Framework (AFF) and the development of sector-specific strategies for the implementation of NACS.

He said the absence of the IMC which is also supposed to receive the Monitoring and Evaluation report, is a setback to the realization of the NACS objective.

He said there is observed lack of knowledge and misinformation on the part of most agencies as to their expectations in the implementation of the NACS policy. Most agencies are uniformed or do not understand the purport of the policy and what is expected of them in its implementation.

On challenges affecting the NACS Implementation, he said poor funding of the NACS is the greatest challenge facing the implementation of the Strategy.

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