President Muhammadu Buhari has launched the training for Anti-Corruption Agencies in the African Union where he told participants that the fight against corruption is a battle for the souls of the countries and it is one that must be won.
He made the remarks in Abuja on Monday when he welcomed delegates to the Corruption Risk Assessment training for heads and senior officials of Anti-Corruption Agencies in the African Union.
The training, he said, was at the instance of Nigeria as part of the support for the war against corruption on the continent and it is being facilitated by the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria (ACAN) the research and training arm of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
He said that the continent has suffered from the severe consequences of corruption since independence and said it was imperative that steps be taken to reverse the trend.
“When we assumed office in May 2015, the pervasive nature and devastating impact of corruption on the Nigerian nation had become dysfunctional. The momentum for our electoral victory could not be separated from the revolt of the people against glaring endemic corruption.
“During the past several months, we have been taking steps to institute integrity and transparency in the processes of government and holding those who have plundered our commonwealth to account for their actions.
“However, the costs of recovery and sanctions are also enormous. While commendable successes have been recorded, it has become manifest that corruption fights back. With enormous stolen resources elements have attempted to compromise law enforcing institutions and pervert the course of justice,’’ he said.
Therefore, he emphasised the necessity of building a system that would focus on preventing corruption that Nigeria would continue to implement policies aimed at building resilient systems that could withstand assault by corrupt officials.
“Our steps in this direction include the full implementation of both the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and the Bank Verification Number (BVN) the Open Government Partnership, various Executive Orders, strengthening the Anti-Corruption Agencies and permitting their full autonomy.
“It is in this context of building robust preventive systems that we must understand this initiative which aims to train leaders of anti-corruption agencies in the African Union by deploying Corruption Risk Assessment Methodology for corruption prevention in our countries.
“Corruption Risk Assessment seeks to identify corruption-prone processes and procedures in organisations and recommend appropriate remedial steps. The methodology places a premium on prevention as an effective complement to enforcement in the war against corruption.’’
In 2016, through support from the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, the said that the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria acquired the capacity to conduct training on Corruption Risk Assessment and had since been conducting trainings.
“The training starting today is an opportunity to extend the benefits of this methodology to other African countries and by which it is clear that we have not taken our appointment as Anti-Corruption Champion for the continent for the year 2018 lightly.
“It is heart-warming that most of our countries have subscribed to not only the United Nations Convention against Corruption, UNCAC, but also the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AUCPCC).
“This event offers a good opportunity to encourage the few countries which are yet to ratify the African Union Convention to expedite processes to do so. No efforts can be too much as we seek to rid our societies of the evil of corruption.’’