President Muhammadu Buhari has described corruption as “one of the greatest evils of our time” warning corrupt Nigerians that the war against corruption has come to stay. 

At the Opening Ceremony of the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, President Buhari formally launched the African Anti-Corruption Year 2018.

A spokesman for the President, Mr Garba Shehu, said Buhari was conferred the Champion of the theme of the 30th AU Summit - “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation”.

President Buhari thanked his African colleagues for entrusting him with such a noble responsibility.

He pledged to do his best “to ensure that the anti-corruption agenda will receive the attention it deserves and make the impact we all hope for, during 2018 and beyond".

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He said: “Corruption is indeed one of the greatest evils of our time. Corruption rewards those who do not play by the rules and also creates a system of distortion and diversion thereby destroying all efforts at constructive, just and fair governance”.

The President, who noted that Africa had made some significant strides in enacting legal and policy frameworks such as the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AUCPCC) to address the vice, said the desired impact had been lacking.

“Fifteen (15) years after the adoption of the African Union Convention, 2018 provides a good starting point to take stock of progress made so far, assess what still needs to be done and devise new strategies to address new corruption challenges,” he said.

He maintained that, “a judiciary which stands firm against arbitrariness and injustice by the executive is a vital pillar in the anti-corruption fight.

“As leaders, we must build synergy between the Executive, Legislative and Judicial arms of government in order to entrench good governance, transparency and accountability.

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“Strong institutions are a necessary condition in any society which aims to fight corruption.

“In building strong national and regional institutions, we must adequately empower our national anti-corruption agencies and insulate them from political influence.”’

President Buhari also stressed the need to encourage increased institutional collaboration between Law Enforcement Agencies and anti-corruption agencies in order to win the fight against corruption and corrupt practices.

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