Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
Nigeria has signified its intention to be enlisted as a member nation of the Open Government Partnership, a global coalition in the fight against corruption.
This intention became official yesterday through a letter to the OGP steering committee dated June 20, 2016 and titled, ‘Letter of Intention to Join the Open Government Partnership’ signed by the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN).
This is contained in a statement issued yesterday by Mr Salihu Isah, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
The statement said the letter was addressed jointly to Ayanda Dlodlo, Deputy Minister for Public Service Administration, Jean-Vincent Place, Secretary of State for State Reform and Simplification, Government of France, Alejandro Gonzalez Arreola, Executive Director, GESCO, Gestion Socialy Cooperacion A.C. and Manish Bapna, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, World Resource Institute.
The statement quoted the minister as stating in his correspondence to OGP that, “I am honoured to submit this letter of intent to the Open Government Partnership Steering Committee on behalf of the Government of Nigeria and to express Nigeria’s commitment to join the partnership.
“As you are aware, Nigeria meets the eligibility criteria set out by the OGP and the government of Nigeria is strongly committed to the principles of Open Government.
“By joining OGP, the government of Nigeria commits to transparency and accountability in the management of public office. We believe that the OGP membership will enhance innovation, economic development and accelerate the transformation of our public service.”
The Attorney General of the Federation also revealed that, “It is important to note that Nigeria is already participating actively in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) process and implementing the EITI Standards.”
The minister said Nigeria had enacted the Public Procurement Act and the Fiscal Responsibility Act with a view to enhancing transparency in public contracting, public procurement as well as the management of public finance.
Excerpts from the letter read: “Nigeria has also improved access to information through the enactment of the Freedom of Information Act and the Code of Conduct Bureau Act. The requirement for the disclosure of assets by public officials is embedded in the Constitution and all public officers are required to declare their assets every four years.
“Against the background, Nigeria is committed to working with you and other countries within the OGP framework to implement the OGP initiatives with major focus on accountability of government institutions, enhancing freedom of information and corporate ownership transparency, particularly in the extractive industry.”
OGP was launched in 2011 and has 69 countries as members out of which eight are from the Africa continent namely, South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Tunisia.
With this letter, Nigeria intends to become the ninth African nation to join the coalition with the intention that it would aid the anti-graft war.