Legal practitioners and anti-corruption advocates have called for a renewed commitment to the government’s fight against corruption.
The experts spoke at a workshop organised to strengthen the current efforts aimed at combating corruption, money laundering and terrorism financing in Nigeria.
The programme, organised by the Centre for Fiscal Transparency and Integrity Watch, held on Tuesday in Abuja.
The Director of the centre, Angela Nworgu, said the aim of the programme is to discuss ways to strengthen the current efforts aimed at combating corruption, money laundering and financing of terrorism with the support of legal practitioners.
Ms Nworgu said the one-day workshop seeks to foster cooperation between the Nigerian Bar Association, the judiciary, anti-corruption agencies, regulators and supervisors, and civil society groups towards combating these crimes that have been stifling the development of Nigeria.
She added that the centre, in collaboration with MacArthur Foundation, has mapped out programmes to engage stakeholders in discussing money laundering and other financial crimes.
The ultimate goal is ensuring accountability in the public sector in Nigeria at all levels, she said.
In his submission, Obot Udofia, the executive director, Century Recovery Services, said the tendencies of corruption are “very deep” and it takes people who are committed to fight it.
And if you don’t fight it effectively, he said, “It will bring you down.”
He added that officials are not afraid of corruption because “most of them do not know the evil of corruption to the society and the entire country.”
He argued that Nigeria has good laws in place but the only thing that is lacking is “implementation and enforcement.”
All hands need to be on deck, Mr Udofia said. “Corruption is not something one person or institution can fight. There must be cooperation and collaboration from the public and private sectors.”
On terrororism financing, he said it is international in nature, noting that most of the people financing terrorists are abroad and it is difficult to trace them.
“It takes a lot of intelligence gathering,” Mr Udofia added.
Meanwhile, Paul Daudu, a representative of the Nigerian Bar Association, Bwari Branch, said his association’s position has always been clear.
“To ensure that we at the best of times, we instil confidence in our profession and ensure that all our colleagues abide by the professional conduct.”
“We have regulatory mechanisms for doing that but unfortunately the lawyers are not trained to be security agents or financial accountants.
“All we can do is ensure our colleagues who are involved in aiding or facilitating crime, to self regulate and fish the bad ones and push them for further prosecution.”
“The NBA needs to collaborate with anti-corruption agencies to ensure that we can work together and get to the root of the problem.”
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