he Presidential Advisory Committe Against Corruption is to partner with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on the fight against corruption in the country.
The Executive Secretary of the Committe, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye disclosed this at the Inaugural meeting of the International Trade Unions Confederation (ITUC) Africa in collaboration with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Solidarity Centre, on Campaign against illicit Financial Flows from Africa, in Abuja.
Prof. Owesanoye said the Federal Government had done a lot to block all leakages in the country, but added that while the present administration had made progress in blocking the leakages, it is faced with challenges of repatriating stolen funds from outside the country.
He pointed out that repatriating the stolen money became difficult because most developed countries enacted legislations that make returning these funds difficult,.
Rather than repatriate the cash, he explained that the stolen money are brought back through aids and other development agendas.
He said: “I am sure that you wonder sometimes how much these countries loved us to come and spend these much in our country. It is the money stolen that is finding its way back. All we need to do is to plug the loopholes from our own end.
“When we recognized and put some measures to stop the bleeding, the next is to say let us have the resource returned, then you begin to have all manner of problems. That is why the issue of asset recovery has become an issue of global concern. Some countries are presently passing laws to make asset return almost impossible.
“There are countries that if your money get there, you cannot get it back by law. They will agree with you that it was stolen from your country, but you can’t get it back. That of course is legalising the recipient of stolen properly because in basic common law, both the thief and the receiver of the stolen goods are equally guilty”.
He sought for partnership with well meaning organizations of conscience like the labour movement to up their advocacy on the next task which is assets recovery.
He said: “This is another level of advocacy that we all need to prepare to fight. You may be aware that Nigeria has been having trouble recovering assets that have been identified returned to us. All manner of obstacles have been out on the way if having these returned.
“In some situation, we know that money that are legally earned, but illegally transferred become illicit financial flow automatically because our laws are very clear on how to repatriate funds. Under the UN convention which many of us have signed onto, these money are returnable, but developed countries will begin to dance around it.”
The NLC president, Comrade Ayuba Wabba said the Congress will continue to partner with government on the fight against corruption which was the reason behind under -development in Nigeria
He described as unacceptable the enormous resources Nigeria is bless with, while a lot of its youths are out of school, with many others without job and shelters.
Wabba said:: “The challenges are enormous, despite the huge resources Africa has and despite the enormous potentials that it has, you will still see children are out of schools, no payment of salaries, no basic amenities and a host of other challenges.
“In most countries, resources are taken out unaccounted including Nigeria where the crude oil that is taken out is not accounted for, so this become a very serious challenge. Also the Thabo Mbeki’s report on illicit financial flows out of Africa gave us a perspective on the enormousity of the challenges. So if you look at the challenges, is at the heart of our activity.
“In most countries the issue of development is taken to the background and worst hit are the working class, their families and pensioners and therefore it should be a priority. For us at the NLC we remain committed in partnering with government in trying to effectively wage a serious war against corruption, because we believe it is as a result of corruption that our critical infrastructure are not working despite enormous resources committed to fixing these infrastructure”.