The Initiative for Research, Innovation and Advocacy in Development (IRIAD) and The Electoral Hub commemorates International Anti-Corruption Day 2021 by urging stakeholders around the world to unite in the fight against corruption and promote accountability and integrity. Our efforts to fight corruption include the following:
- Institutionalising accountability and anticorruption in Nigeria through sustained documentation and dissemination of transparency, inclusion, and accountability challenges, and active mobilisation of youth participation. This is done under our project titled “Strengthening Electoral Accountability in Nigeria” supported by the MacArthur Foundation.
- Conducting interventions in the electoral space to curb corrupt practices such as election rigging, vote buying, and bribery.
- Advocating for transparency in governance and decision-making processes.
- Engaging the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).
International Anti-Corruption Day is celebrated annually on 9 December. It was proclaimed in 2003 by the United Nations General Assembly to raise public awareness on anti-corruption. The theme of this year’s International Anti-Corruption Day is “Your right, your role: Say no to corruption”.
In Nigeria, the problem of corruption is deeply pervasive. In 2020, Nigeria ranked 149 out of 180 countries on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. This is a step back from its rank of 139 out of 176 in 2012. It therefore seems that corruption is increasing in the country, which has had devastating impacts on the country’s socio-economic development. Due to large-scale embezzlement of public funds, citizens continue to be denied basic services such as good roads, education, and healthcare. Indeed, a prediction by PricewaterhouseCoopers indicates that “corruption in Nigeria could cost up to 37% of Gross Domestic Products (GDP) by 2030 if it’s not dealt with immediately”.
Corruption also has significant impacts on marginalised groups such as women, youth and persons with disabilities (PWDs). This is because “corruption deprives governments of the resources needed because of illicit financial flows (IFFs), thus weakening states’ ability to deliver developmental expectations targeted at women and youths”. Unless efforts are made to fight corruption, we risk excluding marginalised groups even further.
Another trend that has made corruption even more pervasive is globalisation. In the last few years, reports have filled the airwaves of funds looted by former leaders in Nigeria being retrieved from other countries. This is reflective of the fact that globalisation has made it much easier for persons to hide their corrupt acts by transferring their assets or making transactions overseas. Against this context, the importance of global cooperation in the fight against corruption cannot be overemphasised.
Given the pervasiveness of corruption in Nigeria and indeed around the world, it is clear that a multi-stakeholder approach is needed to prevent it. The following steps are recommended:
- Governments should implement UNCAC and develop anti-corruption policies such as whistleblower protection.
- Anti-corruption agencies like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) should increase their anti-corruption efforts.
- Law enforcement officials like the police and the judiciary should strictly enforce anti-corruption laws.
- CSOs should key into platforms like the UNCAC coalition to promote anti-corruption interventions in their respective countries.
- CSOs should enlighten the public on the costs and consequences of corruption.
- The media should highlight high-profile cases of corruption in order to serve a deterrent effect on others.
- The general public should report cases of corruption.
- Stakeholders around the world should unite to share lessons learned and best practices on anti-corruption.
The combination of these efforts should contribute greatly to the fight against corruption, thereby resulting in socio-economic development and transparency and accountability in governance.
Princess Hamman-Obels | Founder and Director, IRIAD and The Electoral Hub
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