WEST African anti-corruption agencies are meeting in Abuja to chart a new course on ways to combat the menace of corruption in the sub-region.
The 5th Annual General Assembly (AGA) meeting of the Network of National Anti-corruption institutions in West Africa (NACIWA) is currently holding in Abuja.
Welcoming participants to the meeting Bolaji Owasanoye, Chairman of Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) said the event would offer the anti-corruption institutions the opportunity to chart new ways to combat corruption.
“We are all aware that corruption is a significant contributory factor to Africa’s under-development.
“This realisation informed the adoption of the convention and, I dare say, the formation of NACIWA.
“One can surmise that the inability of our institutions to fully implement our individual mandates and, by implication, the regional treaty obligations is a contributing factor to the resurgence of unconstitutional take over of government within the West African sub-region.
“I have no doubt that we will all rededicate ourselves at this conference in our discussion to fighting corruption as the common enemy which is threatening the stability of our countries,” Owasonoye said.
Also contributing, the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Abdulrasheed Bawa said the agency secured several convictions in the past year.
He added that the commission also recovered over N152 billion during the period.
Bawa added that the commission also embarked on several reforms, including launching a reporting application known as Eagle Eye.
The anti-graft boss explained that the Eagle Eye application would ease the public’s reporting of incidences of economic and financial crimes.
“The EFCC has further developed a five-year Strategic Plan that guides its operational approach in law enforcement action.
“ECOWAS sub-region is threatened by existential security challenges, which may not be unrelated directly or indirectly to corruption.
“We must, therefore, intensify efforts to stem the spate of illicit financial flows within the sub-region including illicit flows by Politically Expose Persons,” Bawa said.
The special guest of honour and Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama said there was a need for law enforcement and anti-corruption agencies in the West African sub-region to collaborate in the fight against corruption.
Onyema said the Federal Government would continue to provide the necessary material and capacity support to agencies saddled with dealing with corruption and other related crimes.
“The Nigerian government believes that the West African sub-region has always been at the forefront of the fight against corruption, and as such, NACIWA shall be supported to achieve its objectives.
“We are confident that deliberations from this meeting will come up with recommendations that shall assist Heads of State and Government of the sub-region with strategies to deal with the issue of corruption,” he said.
The President of NACIMA Francis Kaifala said the network has been very active in fighting corruption in the sub-region.