The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has urged the Federal Government to set up a separate trust fund to manage funds and assets recovered from proceeds of corruption.
CISLAC stated this in a communiqué signed by its Executive Director, Auwal Musa and Global Board of Trustees members, Mr Francis John and Dr Afia Zakiya and issued at the inauguration of the CISLAC global office in U.S. and the SDG 16 Shadow Report.
The inauguration was held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
The centre urged the Federal Government to “expedite action on asset recovery by setting up a special integrity trust fund to be monitored by the civil society.
“This is to ensure that repatriated funds are duly channelled to sustainable development efforts.”
It urged African countries, specifically Nigeria, to strengthen bilateral relations that would enable them to obtain the necessary information that would facilitate the repatriation of stolen funds from abroad.
CISLAC, however, said that it was regrettable that no clear institutionalised bilateral efforts had been made to curb illicit financial and arms flow or recover stolen funds of Africa, specifically Nigeria, domiciled in foreign countries.
The civil society group expressed regret at what it termed the presence of an obnoxious CSO bill sponsored by a member of the National Assembly to scuttle the voice of the people.
The centre stated that the bill is aimed at closing the space that should enable civil society groups to participate in the developmental efforts.
CISLAC called for the discontinuation of the bill, saying it “poses no good intent for the development of citizens and further robs the country of inclusivity in governance.”
In his remark, CISLAC Executive Director, Auwal Musa, acknowledged that Nigeria is in a critical period of its history going by the current ethnic tension across the country.
He, however, said the civil society had the mandate to advocate for peace, fairness and social justice as this would bring the much needed development.
He added that sharing the SDG 16 Shadow Report was critical to inform of the current anti-corruption efforts of the Federal Government and entrench sustainable development.
SDG 16 is dedicated to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, the provision of access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels.
Musa urged the civil society and all other stakeholders to lend their voices to the clarion call on peace and stability and eschew corruption.
The Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the UN, Prof. Tijjani Bande, commended CISLAC on its giant strides and efforts at strengthening good governance.
Bande said corruption was the bane of underdevelopment and social unrest in the country adding, it is the worst epidemic among religious, ethnic and socio-cultural factors affecting the country’s development.
The Nigerian envoy observed that Nigeria had had some strong leadership whereby everything revolved around the leader but not around creating strong institutions.
Bande called for the creation of strong institutions saying, building strong institutions should be everybody’s business.
The Nigerian envoy urged Nigerians to promote Nigeria’s image abroad by highlighting the great achievements made by Nigerians while not losing sight of the challenges.
The launch was attended by Nigeria’s Deputy Permanent Representative Amb. Samson Itebgoje, House Committee Chair on Poverty Alleviation, Muhammed Wudil, and Africa and Middle East Coordinator of the UN SDGs, Mr Hilary Ogbonna, among others.