BY EDMOND ODOK, ABUJA – Still smarting from the embarrassing corruption saga involving Ibrahim Magu, the suspended Acting Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), President Muhammadu Buhari says African leaders must kill the deadly corruption virus to effectively address huge governance deficit haunting the continent.
According to him; “the massive corruption being perpetrated across our national governments has created a huge governance deficit that has in turn created negative consequences that have worsened the socio-economic and political situation in Africa.”
He said the continent urgently needs re-commitment to the anti-corruption war by leaders to engender an “integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens, representing a dynamic force in the international arena.”
President Buhari therefore urged African leaders to ensure the immediate actualization of the Common African Position on Assets Recovery (CAPAR), as the continent celebrates Anti-Corruption Day, July 11, 2020.
The Nigerian leader; whose message was conveyed in a letter to the Chairman of African Union and South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa, said the consequences of massive corruption have left Africa reeling in under-development and economic backwardness over the years.
President Buhari’s letter read in part:
“As Your Excellency is aware, the continental fight against corruption has been premised on an irreducible minimum that can pave the way for Africa’s transformation. In this effort, the emphasis has been on the continent’s collective determination to forge resilient partnerships among our national governments, civil society organizations and other interest groups, such as women, youth and the physically challenged, to ensure improved socio-economic, political and security development and ultimately, the improvement of our continent.
“The concern of the African Union is that the massive corruption being perpetuated across our national governments, has created a huge governance deficit that has in turn created negative consequences that have worsened the socio-economic and political situation in Africa.
“Your Excellency may recall that these continental concerns led our colleagues at the African Union, to appoint my humble self as the African Union Anti-Corruption Champion. I believe that the efforts and focus of the Nigerian Government at home, partly informed this decision as well as the need for Africa, as a continent, to recommit herself to the fight against corruption and the imperative to free resources for meaningful development.
“I am, therefore, in full support of the call for the issuance of a continental message to commemorate this day, on July 11, 2020, to re-commit the African Union to the continental fight against corruption, including through a robust approach to assets recovery, hence the need for a strategic framework on a Common African Position on Assets Recovery (CAPAR).
“Happily, in February 2020, at the 33rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union in Addis Ababa, CAPAR was adopted. In my view, the African Union must go beyond the mere annual celebration of the Africa Anti-Corruption Day by moving swiftly to operationalize the African Common Position on Assets Recovery by all member states. This is an excellent way to drive Africa’s Agenda 2063, for an ‘integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens, representing a dynamic force in the international arena.”
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, further quoted him as saying; “As current Chair of our Union, I sincerely commend to you, this suggestion that seeks to call our leaders in Africa to recommit ourselves to this very important task of reclaiming our continent from the vice of systemic corruption.”
“Please accept, Your Excellency and Dear Brother, the assurances of my highest consideration”, President Buhari said