UTILIZATION OF RETURNED LOOT: ANEEJ applauds Buhari for including CSOs

The Africa Network for Environment & Economic Justice, ANEEJ, has applauded the plan by the Buhari administration to expend the $320million loot returned from Switzerland to Nigeria on the poorest of the poor through a conditional Cash Transfer Programme.

In a statement released to the media after 8th Commonwealth Conference on Anti-Corruption, organized by the EFCC in Abuja, ANEEJ executive director the Rev David Ugolor said that the plan by the Federal Government to comply with the World Bank requirement was in keeping with the spirit and letters of the MoU signed by Nigeria with the Swiss Government for proper utilization of the returned loot.

“That decision is in respecting an agreement reached on an auspicious moment in the annals of the asset recovery drive in Washington DC in 2017. To that end therefore, we want to say that ANEEJ is delighted that the Federal government has provided an enlarged space for Civil Society Organisations to be part of the process of the monitoring of the cash transfers. We believe that this demonstrates a strong willingness of the Buhari administration to be open and transparent with the entire process especially as they have taken the extra step to include CSOs in the implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy”, the Rev Ugolor said.

Looted funds previously returned to Nigeria have been mismanaged, and largely unaccounted for mostly because Civil Society groups were largely excluded from the processes of utilization of the returned loot. Therefore in October 2017, ANEEJ put in place a multi-stakeholders meeting in Abuja involving ambassadors, government officials and civil society stakeholders to build an effective framework on asset recovery in Nigeria. That coalition translated to an MoU signed between Nigeria and the Swiss governments on the proviso of civil society groups’ involvement in the process.

“What the 8th Commonwealth Conference on Anti-Corruption in Abuja has done is that it has taken a cue from the ANEEJ initiative of 2017 and emphasized the need for multi-dimensional approach to tackling corruption. Kudos to the EFCC on this”, the Rev Ugolor maintained.