Osinbajo: Corruption Fueled Boko Haram Insurgency, Killed 20,000, Displaced 2 million

  • says 20,000 fatalities, 2 million people displaced
  • calls for united action against scourge

ABUJA-Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that corruption was responsible for the Boko Haram insurgency in the north or east.

He also stated that the vice has caused untold humanitarian disasters, promoted the death of 20,000 while displacing 2 million persons.

Yemi Osinbajo

Osinbajo made the revalations while speaking Thursday at the ongoing meeting of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD’s Anti-Corruption & Integrity Forum in Paris, France.

The vice president also said that illicit financial flows from Africa to other parts of the world were on the increase and had cost the continent a capital flight of USD50billion annually.

He therefore called for a united fight against corruption and illicit follows especially from Africa.

He said: “Mr. Secretary-General,
Your Excellencies, there is now hardly any credible opposition to the notion that corruption and Illicit financial flows constitute perhaps the gravest challenge to development. And this is especially true of developing countries.

“Besides, we have seen in Nigeria, in recent years, how corruption directly fueled the terrorist insurgency in the North-East. And how in turn that has led to one of gravest humanitarian disasters in the world; 20,000 fatalities and 2 million people displaced.

“Also the adverse implications for education, healthcare, social services, infrastructure and indeed quality of life no longer require making a case .

“Corruption and illicit financial flows are different. But they really must be twinned. This is because for practical purposes it is an eminently more sensible approach to treat most of the sources of illicit financial flows as corrupt activity, within a broader use of the term.

“It is also clear that most economies ravaged by corruption, usually-both as a cause and consequence-do have institutions that are too weak to fight corruption and illicit financial flows. International collaboration is therefore the smartest and most effective approach to apprehend and deter perpetrators, and ensure restitution of stolen assets.

” Of particular note on the continental level is the ground breaking work of the of the Thabo Mbeki Panel on illicit financial flows from Africa. The initiative which was sponsored by a joint commission of the AU and the ECA, alarmed at the prospect that most African States despite earnings and official development assistance, would still not meet MGD targets in 2015, noted that Africa loses USD50billion annually, in illicit financial flows.

“The Panel’s far reaching conclusions and recommendations again underscore the overwhelming importance of global collaboration, especially to bridge the huge capacity gap between the large corporations and organized crime identified as the foremost perpetrators and facilitators of corrupt activity in and illicit flows from Africa. Yet more needs to be done.”

Osinbajo noted that as a country committed to stamping out corruption, Nigeria has mapped out some measures to fight it.

Some of these measures, he said, included establishing a seven man Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, the Anti-Corruption and Criminal Justice Reform fund with the support of three international Development Partners; Ford Foundation, MacArthur Foundation and the Open Society West Africa, the Whistleblower initiative launched barely eight weeks ago and signing of several bilateral mutual legal assistance treaties on collaboration on financial crimes and corruption
with numerous countries.

Regretting however that no frantic international efforts were made to assist African countries where mostly the funds were being ferried abroad, the vice president said that the countries where stolen funds were being stashed away should be held responsible.

“Secretary-General, We must work collaboratively to ensure transparency in financial transfers, and outlaw secrecy jurisdictions.

“There must be more rigorous enforcement of rules promoting transparency in the international banking and financial systems, especially more stringent KYC rules on customer identity, source of wealth, and even country of origin.

“Countries hosting global financial centers, and other usually targeted destinations of illicit flows must be held more accountable to enforce mechanisms which ensure transparency of ownership, control, beneficial ownerships, trusts and other legal contrivances that may be used to camouflage financial or other assets.

“Open contracting and information systems, are also crucial. Responsible government authorities ought to have information about which companies won what contracts, and what they have paid as taxes to governments in host and home countries. This is especially important for the extractive industry. Nigeria is committed to these standards having joined the Open Government Partnership in 2016.

“Tracing, freezing and Return of stolen assets has proved in many cases to be exceptionally difficult for most African countries. We in Nigeria have seen just how difficult it is to get back stolen assets from the international financial system, such as banks that ought not have received those funds in the first place if even the most routine questions were asked.

“A robust global framework on repatriation of stolen assets which ensures quick restitution to victim countries is long overdue.

“Your Excellencies, there is consensus that corruption and illicit financial flows out of Africa, inexorably delay the attainment of development goals, worsen practically all human development indices and trap the majority of her people especially the most vulnerable in a cycle of misery.

Only a united global action has the power to reverse this trend. We respectfully urge that this power be exercised more vigorously and without further delay”, Osinbajo said.