By Fiona Freddy

The Acting Chairman of Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu, has sought the cooperation of the Nigerian media to work closely with the commission in fighting corruption.

Magu made the appeal while speaking to newsmen in Abuja on the sidelines of a preparatory meeting towards Nigeria’s role as the champion of the 2018 African Union themed, “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation”.

“We appeal to the media to expose the corrupt. We want everybody to work with us, particularly the media to fight corruption,” he said.

He also assured that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government would not disappoint the rest of the world in its fight against corruption.

According to Magu, “The fact that this meeting is taking place is an indication that there is an effective political will to fight corruption.”

Earlier, the deputy chairperson of the African Union Commission, Ambassador Thomas Kwesi Quartey, said Africa loses an average of $50 billion annually through illicit financial flows.

The fund, he said, could be used to drive socio-economic development and structural transformation of Africa to address major problems of poverty, unemployment and underdevelopment.

“There is also evidence that the social, legal, political and economic aspects of development are linked, and that corruption in any one sector therefore impedes development in all of them.

“Where corruption is tacitly accepted as a means of doing business, efforts to improve legal and regulatory frameworks are unlikely to succeed,” Quartey said.

He said corruption flourishes in an environment where public and private sector structures such as the rule of law and transparency of proceedings fail to protect and treat fairly the various stakeholders.

“In the extractive sector, illegal logging and mining, diversion of oil revenue and illicit appropriation of public assets have emerged as the overwhelming challenges of corruption,” he added.

He said the problem of corruption in Africa cannot be tackled by crafting policies, which are exclusively domestic-oriented.

“At a minimum, there is need to sharply increase the transparency of the international financial system and to augment the capacity of States, so as to place an obstacle to illicit financial flows,” he said.

The Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Ambassador Olukunle Bamgbose said the meeting was to brainstorm on the best way to consolidate common programmes and processes for continent-wide application of the anti-corruption agenda in all Member States.

Bamgbose said Africa would succeed in its anti-graft war if all countries in the continent stand as a united force, with the same vigour and commitment to combat corruption.