Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Femi Falana, has said that corruption would have reduced in Africa if western countries did not help in keeping looted funds.
He said this at the African non-governmental organisation (NGO) forum held in Banjul, Gambia.
The lawyer accused the western media and Transparency International (TI) of failing to join the campaign for the repatriation of the looted wealth of Africa.
“If the western countries do not warehouse such loot, corruption by criminally minded politically exposed persons will be greatly reduced,” he said.
He charged African NGOs to challenge the narrative on corruption by rejecting the “western propaganda peddled by the Transparency International which has continued to paint Africa as the most corrupt continent on earth”.
Falana asked why TI has deliberately refused to classify Switzerland, UK, US and France as corrupt when the bulk of the billions of dollars stolen from Africa by corrupt rulers have been traced to banks and other financial institutions in these countries.
Calling on NGOs to lead the battle against corruption in their countries, Falana said majority of African governments are wallowing in impunity to the detriment of the development of the country.
He said, “Despite initial pessimism about its potential and relevance, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has over the years contributed significantly to the development of human rights law through its expansive case-law and jurisprudence. In some respects, such as those involving economic and social rights, the commission’s jurisprudence has been ground-breaking, leading to some effective remedies for victims of violations of human and peoples’ rights.”
He therefore urged African NGOs to shift attention and focus to the promotion and defence of socioeconomic rights which are enshrined in the constitutions of African countries and African charter on human and people’s rights.
“This only way to seriously wage the battle against the menace of corruption in Africa is to mobilize the masses who are the principal victims of corruption to demand accountability from the governments,” he said.