President Muhammadu Buhari has identified glaring endemic corruption that engulfed the country prior to the emergence of the All Progressives Congress led-government as one of the factors responsible for his victory in the 2015 presidential election.
The president stated this when he declared open the Corruption Risk Assessment training for heads and senior officials of Anti-Corruption Agencies in the African Union on Monday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
President Buhari observed that the pervasive nature and devastating impact of corruption across the country before the election, was dysfunctional.
He, however, said that his administration was taking steps to institute integrity and transparency in the processes of governance and would hold those indicted for plundering the nation’s resources to account for their actions.
“When we assumed office in May 2015, the pervasive nature and devastating impact of corruption on the Nigerian nation had become dysfunctional.
“The momentum for our electoral victory could not be separated from the revolt of the people against glaring endemic corruption.
“During the past several months, we have been taking steps to institute integrity and transparency in the processes of governance and holding those who have plundered our commonwealth to account for their actions.
“However, the costs of recovery and sanctions are also enormous. While commendable successes have been recorded, it has become manifest that corruption fights back.
“With enormous stolen resources, elements have attempted to compromise law enforcement institutions and pervert the course of justice,” he said.
According to the president, the fight against corruption is a battle for the souls of African countries, which he says, must be won.
He noted that since independence, the African continent had suffered from severe consequences of corruption, saying; “it is imperative that we take steps to reverse the trend”.
He, therefore, enjoined leaders to continue to implement policies that would build resilient systems to withstand assault by corrupt officials.
The president said that Nigeria, for its part, had taken steps in this direction.
He said the measures included full implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and the Bank Verification Number (BVN), the Open Government Partnership, various Executive Orders, strengthening of Anti-Corruption Agencies and permitting their full autonomy.
“It is in this context of building robust preventive systems that we must understand this initiative which aims to train leaders of anti-corruption agencies in the African Union by deploying Corruption Risk Assessment Methodology for corruption prevention in our countries.
“Corruption Risk Assessment seeks to identify corruption-prone processes and procedures in organisations and recommend appropriate remedial steps.
“The methodology places a premium on prevention as an effective complement to enforcement in the war against corruption.
“In 2016, through support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria acquired the capacity to conduct training on Corruption Risk Assessment (CRA).
“Since then, the Academy has conducted a number of these trainings,” he said.
The president said that the training session was essentially an orientation on the benefits of deploying the CRA Methodology in the fight against corruption.
He, therefore, urged participants to embrace it and also take steps to widen the knowledge and skills imparted by supporting the training of Risk Assessors for their countries.
He noted that the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria had a robust curriculum and expertise cutting across the spectrum of anti-corruption training which could be adapted for other countries taking into consideration national specifics.
“To further strengthen this institution, the Academy has our support as it moves towards its objective of being an African Centre of Excellence in anti-corruption training and capacity building.
“I would like to point out here that the training on CRA can only have meaning when the Risk Assessors are put to work,” he said.