U.S. pledges continued support for Nigeria, EFCC in anti-graft war
The United States Government has pledged to continue its support to the anti-corruption crusade of the Nigerian Government and particularly to strengthen the EFCC in this regard.
The U.S. Department of State stated this at the Global Forum on Asset Recovery at Washington, D.C, co-hosted with the UK Government in demonstration of continued commitment to preventing and combatting corruption globally.
The event is being attended by Nigerian Government officials led by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami and representatives of the Nigerian civil society organisations.
The department said since 2013, the U.S. government had provided foreign assistance to increase the Nigerian government’s capacity to investigate and prosecute corruption and financial crime cases, including asset forfeiture and anti-money laundering.
The state department added that its programmes also sought to bolster Nigerian civil society’s capacity to ensure transparency and accountability in government.
“Over the past three years, the United States has funded a project with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to mentor officials investigating and prosecuting money laundering crimes.
“These include on asset forfeiture and counter financing of terrorism, in addition to providing technical assistance to the Nigerian judiciary.
“We will continue to work with the EFCC to further strengthen EFCC institutional development,” the state department said.
The U.S. government funds the Open Government Partnership’s (OGP) Support Unit through a joint grant between the Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
They work with civil society and governments to develop commitments aimed at countering corruption and promoting transparency.
The U.S. also funded a project which led to the drafting of Nigeria’s OGP National Action Plan.
This was carried out through collaboration with EFCC, the ICPC, Nigeria Police Force, and several civil society organisations.
“The U.S. foreign assistance also supported outreach efforts through infographics and social media on corruption-related issues.
“These supports make public data from Nigerian anti-corruption agencies more accessible, and training Nigerian journalists on best investigative journalism practices,” the state department said.
According to the World Bank, over 20 billion dollars is stolen by corrupt officials annually.
The U.S. said: “This is money that should be used to ensure the sustainable development of these countries for essential services such as schools, hospitals, and roads.
“Rather than lining the pockets of corrupt officials, these funds should help grow economies and improve the well-being of the people of these countries.
“To help prevent and combat kleptocracy, U.S. assistance helps strengthen transparency and accountability within government institutions”.
Since 2016, the Department of State and USAID have dedicated more than 115 million dollars annually to a wide range of foreign assistance efforts to counter corruption.
These include capacity building of foreign governments to create stronger laws and more effective institutions; investigate, prosecute, and secure convictions for corruption offences. (NAN)