Anti-Corruption Day: CISLAC tackles Buhari on mis-governance, commends U.S on Democracy Summit
By Gidado Shuaib
POLITICS DIGEST – The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, the National Chapter of Transparency International, TI, in Nigeria has said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s failure tackle the legacies of mis-governance since coming into power in 2015, has plunged the country further into precarious situations.
In a statement on Thursday, the CISLAC Executive Director, Auwal Ibrahim-Rafsanjani also said that missteps by the administration have sunk the country deeper into widespread insecurity, unemployment, poverty and inequality, voter apathy, corruption and impunity, extra-judicial killings and high-handedness among law enforcement and security agencies which has created a widening distrust for government among citizens.
“The world still remembers the unprovoked mauling of young Nigerians during the #EndSARS protest, in Lagos,” it said.
Mr Rafsanjani commended President Joe Biden and the United States Government for convening the Democracy Summit.
“We commend the Nigerian Government, as well, for committing to participate in this timely global gathering of democrats and changemakers,” CISLAC said, calling on the country not to see the 2022 Summit for Democracy as another photo-op but an opportunity to mobilize partnerships and resources necessary to tackle corruption and impunity which currently poses the greatest existential threat to Nigeria.
The advocacy group called on the Nigerian government to immediately commit to the independence of anti-corruption agencies and prioritize the fight to combat dirty money in politics.
“The lack of independence for the anticorruption agencies affects funding, appointment, tenure of office of heads of the agencies, and their operational independence.
“This affects the ability of the agencies to take bold actions against dirty money, despite actionable intelligence and financial data leaks like the recent Pandora papers report,” it said.
The CISLAC further called on President Buhari to commit to addressing major corruption enablers by mandating the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU, and relevant anti-graft and law enforcement agencies to prioritize and ensure financial institutions and professionals as well as designated non-financial businesses adhere to existing Know Your Customer, KYC, Customer Due Diligence, CDD, as well as Enhanced Due Diligence, EDD, requirements to prevent the cross border flow of Nigeria’s resources through illicit means by politically exposed persons, business persons, religious bodies, private individuals and their collaborators.
“The Ministries of Justice and Foreign Affairs should work in cooperation with their international counterparts to ensure that global enablers/intermediaries like lawyers, notaries, accountants who help facilitate money laundering and tax evasion are sanctioned appropriately while stolen assets belonging to Nigeria are repatriated.
“Specifically, the government should commit to: Extend anti-money laundering rules to all professionals and entities providing services bearing risks of money laundering, require gatekeepers to identify the beneficial owners of their clients, including both domestic and foreign politically exposed persons (PEPs), conduct enhanced due diligence on high-risk customers and report suspicious transactions to competent authorities, ensure adequate powers as well as technical, human, and financial resources for supervisory authorities, law enforcement and Nigeria financial intelligence unit to fulfill their responsibilities and subject gatekeepers to dissuasive and proportionate sanctions, ranging from license withdrawal to monetary fines for noncompliance with anti-money laundering obligations. Sanctions should cover both legal persons and senior management,” it recommended.
The organisation warned the government against working to shrink the civic space and charged it to commit to defend whistleblowers, journalists, anti-corruption activists and human rights defenders while also assuring of CISLAC’s support to help the government in implementing the recommendations which it believes will display Nigeria’s strong international reputation at the US-led Democracy Summit 2022.
Recall that US President Joe Biden on Thursday took the next steps in his plan to promote democracy against rising autocracies when he convened a virtual “Summit for Democracy,” which hosted more than 100 participants representing governments, civil society and private-sector leaders.
In a similar vein, CISLAC also convened a two-day Workshop for Journalists on Political Integrity and Political Party Accountability Reporting in Abuja.
It said it was part of its responsibility to ensure the transfer of skills and knowledge that will promote quality Journalistic work and open up space for more transparency in the country’s governance.