Fighting corruption has more than ever before, become a global concern. Corruption is a serious crime that undermines economic development; political stability; the rule of law; social development; disrupts social order and destroys public trust in the governance system. [See National Anti-corruption Strategy (2017-2021)
The approval of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) by the Federal Executive Council on 5th July, 2017, evidences the continuous strides of the present administration to combat corruption in Nigeria. The main objective of the NACS is to identify and close existing gaps in the anti-corruption initiatives currently in place. The strategy is an insight into the government’s fight against corruption. The strategy is proposed for implementation at three levels in five concurrent pillars. The three levels of implementation include:
Strengthening the legal and institutional framework designed to prevent and combat corruption. This focuses on the Anti-Corruption, Law Enforcement and Regulatory Agencies and the processes of tackling corruption in Nigeria. This framework helps to coordinate and monitor if the laws, institutions and measures put in place are working as intended. It also identifies and rewards compliant behaviour as well as detects and sanctions deviant behaviour.
Mainstreaming anti-corruption principles into governance and service delivery at national level (MDAs): The focus is on safeguarding accountability, transparency and integrity in the management of public property and public affairs in order to reduce the negative impact of corruption on governance and government service delivery. The strategy level seeks to monitor the MDAs on how to administer public property, manage public affairs and deliver services.
Mainstreaming anti-corruption principles into sub-national public administration and the Society as a whole: This strategy level monitor the efforts of both level 1 and 2 to ensure concrete interventions are well incorporated and passed to the people. It also addresses disclosed gaps and provides suggestible recommendations.
More so, the five concurrent pillars are:
(a) Prevention of Corruption: The key objective is to reduce gaps and vulnerabilities to corruption and institute a regime of transparency, integrity, and accountability measures in the private, public and Civil Society Organizations.
(b) Enforcement and Sanctions: The rationale is to detect, investigate and prosecute cases of corruption, ensure speedy adjudication in the judiciary and provide effective sanctions therewith.
(c) Public Engagement: The aim is to educate citizens on how to identify the signs of corruption as well as avenues to report cases of suspected corruption safely. This creates channels for safe public reporting of ethical breaches and corruption with measures put in place for credible handling of complaints.
(d) Campaign for Ethical Reorientation: This strategy aims to promote the establishment of ethical standards where they do not exist and improve the enforcement of such standards where they exist.
(e) Recovery of Proceeds of Corruption: This strategy seeks to focus on recovery and management of proceeds of crime as a deterrent to corruption and a vehicle for mobilizing public support for the anti-corruption agenda.
From the foregoing, the rationale is to reduce the negative impact of corruption and safeguard transparency and accountability at each level of government. Each level of government is given a mandate to establish a Ministerial Committee to implement the NACS. The anti-corruption regulatory agencies are also required to develop an implementation plan that clearly defines key activities, expected deliverables and timelines for all its operating units. Finally, NACS implementation will be monitored through periodic reports and assessments of the stages of strategy implementation, challenges and its recommendations.