Mr Alan Munday, the Head, Political, Governance and Democracy, EU Delegation to Nigeria on Monday said the EU would provide 35 million Euros to build the capacity of Nigeria’s anti-corruption agencies.
Munday said this at a roundtable on Draft Sentencing Guideline for Corruption-related Offences 2014 to Judges of the Federal High Courts, organised by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime in Abuja.
The guidelines are aimed at assisting courts in Nigeria to as much as possible achieve uniformity in sentencing during corruption trial.
The theme of the round-table meeting is “Support to anti-corruption in Nigeria.”
He said that the EU would build on the success of the anti-corruption agencies by committing funds to the value of 35m euros.
He said that the move became necessary in order to build the capacity of anti-corruption agencies and support the Nigerian civil society to enhance their role as watchdog.
Munday explained that the EU would provide civil society with skills that would help them to hold the government accountable and ensure that corruption did not remain business as usual.
According to him, the EU in recent years provided financial and technical support to anti-corruption agencies in the country for a five-year project from 2005 to 2010.
He said that this was to support the Nigerian government to the value of 27.5 million Euros, adding that the project was locally driven and aimed at strengthening evidenced-based policy making.
Other aims of the project include people-oriented service delivery, culture of transparency and accountability.
Munday said that the project also contributed to the conduct of technically sound and politically credible anti-corruption policy in the country.
“Since corruption has proven to be transitional, it is important that transitional response by way of ensuring that individuals who commit corrupt acts can be extradited to face charges,’’ he said.
He said that there were many unresolved problems in Nigeria, but the issue of corruption was particularly troubling.
“One important factor that has placed the fight against corruption high on the political agenda is an increasing awareness of its effects on the economic growth and political development of the country.
“Others are the huge impact corruption has on the lives of ordinary citizens,” he said.
Mr Bala Sanga, the Project Coordinator, EU in Nigeria said that the programme was to bring speed to the issue of corruption cases in the country.
He said that the challenge faced by Nigeria was corruption which had led to the spate of insecurity.
Justice Ibrahim Auta, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Abuja, said that corruption was disturbing the country, adding that drug offences, financial crime and terrorism, among other ills cut across tribe, colour and ethnicity.
He blamed some prosecutors for poor handling of cases, saying that agencies like the EFCC, ICPC and NDLEA should know what they want to charge the accused for.
“The prosecuting agencies must do their home work because at the end, people come to blame the judge if you charge somebody under the Penal Code, the judge will not rule above that,” he said. (NAN)