The Director of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Nigeria, Mr. Ronald Kayanja, has asserted that the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is dependent on the fight against corruption around the world. The SDGs, he explained, would not be achieved if leaders of nations do not diligently fight corruption within their systems.
“Any setback to the attainment of the SDGs by 2030,” Kayanja continued, “portends a great danger to the planet earth and the people of the world.”
He said this at a recent anti-corruption dialogue jointly organised by UNIC Lagos, African Youths Initiative on Crime Prevention (AYICRIP) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to commemorate the International Anti-Corruption Day.
Reading from the message of the outgoing UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon on the International Anti-Corruption Day, Kayanja said, “No country is immune, and every country bears a responsibility to end it.
“Corruption strangles people, communities and nations. It weakens education and health, undermines electoral processes and reinforces injustices by perverting criminal justice systems and the rule of law. By diverting domestic and foreign funds, corruption wrecks economic and social development and increases poverty. It harms everyone, but the poor and vulnerable suffer most,” the UNIC boss added.
He called for commitment to ending the deceit and dishonesty that threaten the 2030 Agenda and the efforts to achieve peace and prosperity for all on a healthy planet.
In his welcome address, the Executive Director of AYICRIP, Mr. Chris Ibe, noted that the country Nigeria would not have a future if corruption is not totally wiped out of the system and the nation’s value system redefined.
The Project Officer of UNODC Lagos office, Mr. William Wu Shiyin, disclosed that the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Country Office is supporting the Nigerian Government to fight corruption and all crimes. He added that it was important to take preventive measures in the fight against corruption as “this is better than treatment.”
In a communiqué issued at the end of the dialogue, the participants resolved that anti-corruption campaign of the government should focus on the youth; government should anti-corruption agencies in the country; government should consider regular publication of corruption convicts register; and that government should establish a separate court to try corruption cases; among others.
The theme of this year’s observance of the International Anti-Corruption Day is ‘Corruption: An impediment to the Sustainable Development Goals’. Goal 16 urges substantial reductions in corruption and bribery and the development of effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels.
The fight against corruption is one of the main goals of the current administration headed by President Muhammadu Buhari, and the country was stunned recently when some top judicial officers were arrested on allegations of corrupt enrichment and arraigned in court.
Also, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), one of the anti-corruption agencies in the country, recently disclosed that the agency was poised to arrest and arraign some bank Managing Directors and CEOs for alleged money laundering, in a bid to step up the anti-corruption war in Nigeria.