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Abacha Loot: Corruption hinders development, pushes citizens towards extremism – CLEEN ED, Gad Peter

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The Executive Director (ED), CLEEN Foundation, Gad Peter has said the Foundation is aware of many devastating impact of corruption on societies including hindrance to development and extremism tendencies on citizenry.

Peter made the remarks at the Civil Society Organization (CSO) Roundtable Dialogue on Status of Asset Recovery in Nigeria held in Abuja on Wednesday.

The objective of the roundtable dialogue, he said, was to update the public on the “progress, success, possible areas of engagement and challenges recorded in the process of utilising recovered looted assets as well as the roles of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in ensuring these recovered funds/assets are adequately utilized and accounted for.

“CLEEN Foundation is keenly aware of the devastating impact of corruption on societies, including eroding trust and the ability of governments to deliver to their citizens. It distorts the economies and access to key services. It hinders development and pushes citizens towards extremism.”

He disclosed that the “CLEEN Foundation was appointed by the Federal Government of Nigeria and the USA Government as the CSO to provide effective monitoring of the implementation of the tripartite agreement on the sharing, transfer, disposition, repatriation, and management of the Forfeited Assets.

“The funds are for the benefit of the Nigerians for infrastructural development namely: Abuja-Kano Road, Second River Niger Bridge and the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.”

Peter added that one aspect of the agreements reached to prevent the re-looting of repatriated funds was a provision that CSOs would be involved in monitoring and reporting on the use of recovered loot. That way, a number of the countries from which the loot was being returned felt confident that the monies would not vanish into the pockets of government officials.

Another innovation, which was agreed, was to use recovered loot for specific social programmes, which would directly benefit poor and vulnerable Nigerians who have over the decades borne the brunt of the grand scale corruption, which has characterized governance in Nigeria, he said.

In her keynote address, Special Adviser to the office of the Attorney General of the Federation on International Asset Recovery, Barr Juliet Ibekekaku-Nwagwu commended President Muhammadu Buhari on anti-corruption policy of his administration.

She noted that several anti-corruption laws have been passed to ensure continuity in the fight against corruption in Nigeria even after Buhari’s tenure.

Ibekekaku-Nwagwu corroborated that one of the terms of the asset recovery agreement was that CSOs must be involved in monitoring the utilisation of the recovered asset.

Also attended the dialogue included Jaime Moody, Deputy Economic Counselor, US Embassy; representatives of Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA); National Orientation Agency; Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC); and UNDC amongst others.

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