..As Nigeria finally gets OGP endorsement as member nation
President Muhammadu Buhari has been invited to speak at the 5th anniversary event of the Open Government Partnership at the United Nations General Assembly on September 20, 2016.

A press release emanating from the Office of the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and made available to newsmen in Abuja Friday indicated that President Buhari would deliver a speech at the event against the backdrop of the nation’s enlistment as a member country of the partnership.

The Special Adviser, Comrade Salihu Othman Isah hinted that the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN made this known at the Meeting of Stakeholders on the Implementation of the Outcome of the London Summit on Anti-Corruption and the Open Government Partnership held on Thursday, July 28, 2016 in Abuja.

“This is an exciting moment for Nigeria as we seek to put back our country on the spotlight by engaging with the public and the society on transparent, accountable and participatory governance”, Isah quoted AGF as saying.

He said Malami observed that, “The foregoing establishes the fact that Nigeria has always appreciated the importance of Open Government as a means of ensuring transparency and accountability in the conduct of government business.”

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The Minister explained that ‘’it is the current administration’s position that commitment to the promotion of Open Government in Nigeria would resonate strongly with the message of change that the new administration represent.”

An elated Malami told the gathering that the Federal Government of Nigeria’s effort to curb corruption received a boost as it received confirmation as the latest participating member nation of the Open Government Partnership (OGP).

He said that the letter confirming Nigeria’s membership has finally been received through the OGP Secretariat and signed by its Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Sanjay Pradhan indicating that all the OGP Steering Committee members have confirmed Nigeria as a participating member country.

‘’The OGP Secretariat has also extended their support to the government of Nigeria and has invited His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari to speak at the 5th Anniversary event at the United Nations General Assembly on September 20, 2016’’, he re-emphasized.

The Chief Law Officer reiterated the facts that fighting corruption is one of the pillars of Buhari administration’s policy.

He therefore expressed satisfaction at efforts made by the Nigerian government to develop sustainable anti-corruption policies, stressing that since assuming office, every effort had been made to build on and expand on what was initiated by the previous governments.

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Malami further pointed out that one of the key priorities is the need to recover stolen funds and pay back to the Nigerian society what they have lost to corruption.

The media spokesman to the AGF furthermore quoted his principal saying that during the London Anti-Corruption Summit, President Muhammadu Buhari presented a country statement on actions that would be implemented by the Government of Nigeria on Anti- corruption reforms.

He revealed that the main objectives of the London Summit were to tackle corruption from three key areas, by Exposing Corruption, Punish the Corrupt and Support the Victims who have suffered from Corruption and lastly to drive out the Culture of Corruption wherever it exits.

The Stakeholders’ Forum is aimed at bringing together the public and private sector as well as civil society organisations to work with the Federal Ministry of Justice (FMOJ) in ensuring that the President’s commitments are turned into actionable plans.

‘’OGP also provides a policy making platform that brings together government and more effective and credible through greater openness. The importance of full disclosure, transparency and accountability in the conduct of government business cannot be over-emphasized in Nigeria. For example, the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 (FOICT) was enacted to achieve openness in the conduct of government business.’’

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In his remarks, the Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi gave assurance of his support and commitment to Open Government Partnership. He added that he is open to its effective implementation, a reason he personally graced the occasion.

Also speaking, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed emphasised that the present administration is committed to the implementation of the approved monitoring and evaluation framework of the budget preparation and working towards making sure the budget is open.

She also hoped the Anti-Money Laundering Bill before the National Assembly will be passed, pledging her support to any initiative of the government towards this effort.

In his remark on behalf of development partners, the Deputy High Commissioner, British High Commission, Mr. Simon Shercliff, said the British Prime Minister is delighted with President Buhari’s valuable contributions during the London Anti- Corruption Summit.

Shercliff observed that corruption is a cancer in many countries of the world; therefore advising that, there is need for the government to work together towards 2030 agenda to reduce bribery and corruption.