The Technical Unit on Governance and Anti-Corruption Reforms (TUGAR) has stressed the need to intensify the fight against corruption during and after Covid-19 crisis to ensure Nigeria recovers fast and better from the impact of the pandemic.
Speaking on Wednesday at the High-Level seminar in commemoration of the International Anti-Corruption Day 2020, with the theme ‘Recover with Integrity,’ the Deputy Director TUGAR, Mrs. Jane Onwumere, emphasized the need to focus on preventing the occurrence of corrupt practices to ensure Nigeria recovers better.
“The objective of commemorating the International Anti-Corruption Day is to create awareness about the negative effects of corruption and the need to prevent and fight corruption,” she said.
Onwumere explained that the 2020 Anti-corruption Day event presents an opportunity to recommit to collective action in preventing and addressing corruption as we reflect on the devastating consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic on governance institutions, the economy and the society.
For the past 11 years, she said, the Inter-Agency Task Team (IATT) of anti-corruption agencies, which includes Bureau of Public Procurement, Central Bank on Nigeria, Fiscal Responsibility Commission, Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit, among others, with TUGAR as Secretariat, has jointly commemorated the Day as it is a platform for cooperation, collaboration and synergy.
Emphasising the place of the youths as Nigeria’s future leaders, she explained that it was important to catch them young which is why they are always a part of the yearly celebration. “For us, as they are the future of our nation, it was important to catch them young, a poetry competition was organised by the IATT for secondary schools in Abuja covering both Junior and Senior Secondary categories. The Winning poems will be showcased at this event,” she said.
In a message, the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, noted that in recent years, anger and frustration have erupted at corrupt leaders and governments with people in some countries taking to the streets to demand for social justice and accountability.
Corruption he says, drains resources from people who need them and undermines trust in institutions, exacerbates the vast inequalities exposed by the virus, and hinders a strong recovery.
“Amidst these deep concerns, the Covid-19 crisis creates additional opportunities for corruption. Governments are spending rapidly to get economies back on track, provide emergency support and procure medical supplies. Oversight may be weaker; and the development of vaccines and treatments adds to the risk of bribery and profiteering,” the Secretary General said.
Guterres noted that recovery from the pandemic must include measures to prevent and combat corruption and bribery, adding that broad partnerships are needed to strengthen oversight, accountability and transparency, building on the global anti-corruption tools provided by the United Nations Conventions against Corruption.