By Alex Enumah in Abuja

The fight against corruption in the country gained global recognition as the United Nations in collaboration with Nigerian anti-corruption agencies adopted a united front against corruption. 

The world global body urged Nigerians to join in the fight against corruption and disclosed that the $90tn estimated by the G20 group for infrastructure investment to support global growth and development between 2015 and 2030 stood the risk of being eaten up by corruption.

 Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon speaking yesterday, at an event organised by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) to commemorate the 2016 International Anti-Corruption Day in Abuja, said, “The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the world’s inspiring new manifesto for transforming our world and building a better future for all. But as we undertake this crucial journey of implementation, a broad barrier stands in our path: corruption”.

 In his message read on his behalf by UNODC Country Representative, Ms Cristina Albertin, the UN Secretary General warned that corruption was capable of destroying the fabric of any nation and indeed the world if treated with kid-gloves. He revealed that the “UN Convention against corruption, buttressed by its peer review mechanism, is mobilizing action for honest, transparent, accountable governance”, adding however, that far more was needed to be done. 

Similarly, UNODC, Executive Director, Yury Fedotov, while observing that corruption was a direct threat to infrastructure investment, stressed the need for a wholehearted and determined contribution to global anti-corruption efforts from the world’s public and private sectors.

 “The G20 estimates that 90 trillion US dollars in infrastructure investment is required between 2015 and 2030 to support global growth and development. To protect this investment corruption’s destructive impact should not be ignored.

 “If we do not unite to successfully eliminate corruption, we risk economic growth being slowed and prosperity muzzled. Corruption also corrodes much needed credibility and trust in the rule of law and criminal justice systems and wastes valuable resources”, he said.

 He disclosed that in order to achieve Goal 16 of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda which borders on the need to seek substantial reductions in corruption and bribery, the UNODC created a comprehensive approach that includes the UN Convention against Corruption and its cutting edge per review mechanism.

 While noting that at the local level the agency had been offering technical advice on invaluable legislative reforms and to help build capacities in the area of law enforcement and successful prosecutions, he maintained that, “Change cannot come without the active engagement of the private sector to create a zero tolerance culture, especially in supply chains”.

 Also speaking, Minister of Mines and Steel Development and Chairman, Inter-Agency Task Team, Kayode Fayemi, noted that this year’s theme: Corruption: An Impediment to the Sustainable Development Goals” and its campaign slogan “United against Corruption” was apt.

He said the linkage with the SDGs was instructive, arguing that the essence of government anywhere was to provide and guarantee development and well-being of citizens. 

“Development is basically a process of enhancement of the welfare and security of the people and the nation itself. Anything therefore, which is an impediment or likely to constitute an impediment to this goal must be fought with vigour”, he said.