The global anti-corruption group, Transparency International, has called on the federal government to withdraw the award given to the late military dictator, Sani Abacha, during the centenary celebration.
Noting that Abacha was investigated for corruption and human rights violations during his lifetime, the international anti-corruption watchdog reasoned that honouring such a person sends a wrong signal about the seriousness of the government in fighting corruption.
Just last week, the United States government froze US$458 million in assets it claims the former Head of State and his co-conspirators stole from Nigeria.
“Honouring a person with a reputation for abusing his position of power for personal gain sends the wrong message about the priorities of a country like Nigeria which has claimed that fighting corruption is at the top of the government’s agenda,” regional director for Sub-Sahara Africa at Transparency International, Chantal Uwimana.
The organisation maintained that giving an award to a public official implicated in numerous acts of corruption contradicts Nigeria’s international commitments and obligations to stop corruption.
The director also applauded those who rejected their Centenary Awards in protest, saying “they send a clear message that there are social consequences for honouring those who abused their positions of power”.