President Muhammadu Buhari-led government has been advised to involve the Nigerian media and the civil society in the spending of returned loot to ensure transparency and accountability.
DAILY POST reports that this is part of the repatriation agreement between the United States and Nigeria on the $308 million looted by late Gen. Sani Abacha.
It read in part: “The Nigerian government, in consultation with the other Parties, will also engage Civil Society Organisations, who have expertise in substantial infrastructure projects, civil engineering, anti-corruption compliance, anti-human trafficking compliance, and procurement to provide additional monitoring and oversight.”
On Friday, the Center for Fiscal Transparency & Financial Crimes Prevention (CFTFCP) commended the decision by the allies to allow Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) utilize the money on a number of roads across the country.
“We must commend the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice in this regard. The EFCC and ICPC have also been critical to the miles achieved”, the body said.
It noted that the recent Asset Tracing, Recovery & Management Regulations 2019 has set clear guidelines for transparent use and management of the monies.
“The cooperation exhibited by some foreign partners for repatriating stolen funds has improved.
“For instance, in the past, when several monies were repatriated from Switzerland and other countries, the mechanism for transparency was limited to the signing of an undertaking guaranteeing “transparent use” of the funds.
“Such measures were at best palliative because factors such as regime change and lack of political will are known to have affected the implementation of such agreements in the past.
“This latest case of repatriation has shown remarkable improvement from the past. Civil Society Organizations with relevant expertise should be engaged to ensure transparency and effective implementation of the clear objectives in the agreement.”
“This ensures that Nigeria is in control of its development process and civil societies are empowered to provide checks and balances. The media should also be involved.”
CFTFCP added that effective implementation of recovered funds will fast-track future repatriations by foreign countries.