By Michael Peter, The Sight News
Abuja: The Open Government Partnership, OGP Office in Nigeria has stressed the need for the National Assembly to pass and strengthen anti-corruption legislations in the country to enable full implementation of the Partnership Commitments in Nigeria.
Recall that Nigeria joined the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in July 2016 as the 70th country in the partnership. The partnership was launched to provide an international platform for domestic reformers to make their governments more open, accountable and responsive to citizens.
The partnership is governed by four key principles:Transparency, Accountability, Citizen Participation, Technology and Innovation.
To actualize this, a research was commissioned by the African Center for Leadership Strategy and Development, Center LSD and endorsed by Civil Society and Government partners, to review existing laws and legislations on the OGP and come up with recommendations.
At the launch of the report in Abuja, the Team Leader, Justice Sector Reforms Team, Sulayman Dawodu maintained that failure by the National Assembly to pass certain anti-corruption bills as recommended in the report have continued to hamper the implementation of the OGP commitments in Nigeria.
Dawodu, while presenting the report, disclosed that in reviewing the report, new bills were drafted to address certain loopholes in the anticorruption legislations in the country.
He further disclosed that the non-passage of the National Finance Intelligence Agency Bill 2017 has led to the removal of the country from the Edmond Group.
“In doing this research, we looked at what had limited us so we made some recommendations, part of it is coming up with some new legislations.
“We must have series of laws that look at civil assets recovery, blocking the loopholes of money laundry and terrorism financing. For the international community, it’s important we have the proceed of crimes laws.
“We have come up with the national intelligence agency bill. This is so important because they have highlighted it for us to have an independent body which is also free from all agencies or government institutions that is responsible for financial intelligence report and also consolidating data to manage the flow of money internationally” he said.
Also speaking at the event, the Executive Director of Center LSD, Otive Igbuzor noted that the report identifies laws and processes that can bring an end to the issue of corruption in the country.
“What the report has shown is that there are certain laws that have not been passed in Nigeria. Like the proceeds of crimes act, whistle blowers act, witness protection act. So the next phase now is to advocate to the National Assembly to pass these laws so that corruption which is a blockade to development and provision of services in Nigeria will be reduced” he said.
In his remark, Center LSD Programmes Coordinator, Uchenna Arisukwu said the report will form the basis for an intense advocacy to drive the process towards making the Open Government Initiative work in Nigeria.
If you look at the report, there are several recommendations from the researchers and this has been validated by the civil society and government partners.
“So advocacy is very key at this juncture. We are going to do plenty advocacy visits to the National Assembly, we are going to draft conversations, we are going to push for these recommendations.
“If these recommendations are not carried out, it is likely the OGP may not succeed in Nigeria. Take for example your CAMA, CAC is asking for their laws to be amended so that the initial ownership regime can be declared for public limited liability companies. As it is presently constituted, it is only for private limited liability companies” he said.