The European Union on Tuesday said it would spend €23.3m (N9.9bn) on a four-year programme that would focus on tackling corruption in Nigeria.
The EU Ambassador and Head of Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Kurt Cornelis, said this in Abuja during the inauguration of the four-year Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Programme in Nigeria.
He said, “The European Union is providing €23.3m for the initiative, to be implemented at the federal level and in four states of Adamawa, Anambra, Kano and Lagos. Corruption and an ineffective justice system undermine Nigeria’s effort at economic and social development and fighting poverty.”
Cornelis, who disclosed that the British Council office in Nigeria would implement the programme, said the EU had affirmed its commitment to supporting Nigeria to improve the justice sector and strengthen the fight against corruption through the financing of the programme tagged, RoLAC.
The envoy added, “Criminal justice reform and the fight against corruption are complementary and mutually reinforcing. Corruption is both a cause and driver of poor governance and performance of the criminal justice system.
“At the same time, a strong Nigerian criminal justice sector, able to dispense timely and effective justice would strengthen the fight against corruption, as incentives to engage incorrupt practices are reduced.
“The overall objective is to enhance good governance in Nigeria by contributing to the strengthening of the rule of law and curbing corruption. More specifically, it will target and support: The implementation of the Nigerian criminal justice reform agenda to improve on the timeliness, effectiveness and transparency of the system.”
Other areas the programme will focus on include: Increasing access to justice for women, children and persons with disabilities strengthening the fight against corruption in the criminal justice sector, public procurement and the extractive industries, enhance citizens’ civic and public engagement in criminal justice sector reforms and the fight against corruption
According to RoLAC Programme Director, Dr. Bob Arnot, at the British Council, the approach is not to bring predetermined solutions but to work in collaboration with Nigerian state and non-state actors to develop and implement sustainable initiatives that will build upon and consolidate the successes of the EU’s previous support to Nigeria in the justice and anti-corruption sector under the 10th EDF.