The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) on Tuesday decried the high level of secrecy and lack of transparency in Nigeria’s fight against corruption.
Okeke Anya, Project Manager, CISLAC, speaking at the press conference to commemorate the international anti-corruption day in Abuja, said that the secretive nature of defense budgets and insufficient oversight of law enforcement agencies has further hinder the effective fight against corruption in Nigeria.
He said “There is a complete lack of transparency in the procurement of military equipment, overpricing, purchase of obsolete and dysfunctional weapons, also the Nigeria Police and military have a reputation of heavy-handedness and poor respect for the rule of law”.
Anya, speaking further said that some defense budgetary allocations contribute directly to insecurity and lawlessness, stressing that the security votes are one of the most durable forms of corruption that exists in Nigeria.
“The total Security Vote spent is N241.4 billion Naira, which is more than the annual budget of the Nigerian Army, more than the annual budget of the Nigerian Air Force and Navy combined and more than 70% of the annual budget of the Nigerian Police Force”, he added.
Uchenna Arisukwe, program coordinator, Africa Centre for Leadership, Strategy and development in his remarks noted that Nigeria still loses enormous amount of resources to illicit financial outflows annually. “The indirect and dodgy movements of monies earned in Nigeria and leaving the country through the back door poses great challenge to our development and economy”, he said.
He explained that despite the increased military budgets over the last decade, front line troops still complain about lack of equipment and resources to combat insurgency adding that corruption has literally killed tens of thousands of people across Nigeria due to corruption in the security sector.
“This year, and approaching elections in 2019, should be a wake-up call for unprecedented rise in insecurity and gradual sliding of the rule of law in many parts of Nigeria. More and faster progress needs to be made to curb arms trafficking and organized crime around the country”.
Ezenwa Anyuwu, Director General , Lawyers Network Against corruption stressed that most fundamental governance problems in Nigeria arises from extreme corruption in the political party system adding that the electoral processes at the federal and sub-national level need to be free of political profiteering and manipulation.
He said “The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) must possess the independence and capacity to sanction breaches of the provisions of the National Electoral Act, 2010 as amended”.
“The political parties’ financing is prone to undue influence of wealthy ‘godfathers’ who circumvent the rules put in place by the Electoral Law. To curtail these abuses, a strict supervision and effective sanctioning are needed in conjunction with the pressure from the ‘grass-root’ for respectable candidates with high personal integrity and moral standing”.
Cynthia Egboboh, Abuja