Nigeria has signified her intention to be enlisted as the latest member-nation of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), a global coalition in the fight against corruption.
The intention became official through a letter to the OGP Steering Committee titled, ‘Letter of Intention to Join the Open Government Partnership’, signed by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, dated 20th June, 2016.
This was made known through a press statement, issued by Mr. Salihu Othman Isah, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, and made available to the Press and Public Relations Unit of the Ministry on 19th July, 2016.
The Minister stated in his correspondence to OGP that, “I am honoured to submit this letter of intent to the Open Government Partnership Steering Committee on behalf of the Government of Nigeria, and to express Nigeria’s commitment to join the Partnership. As you are aware, Nigeria meets the eligibility criteria set out by OGP, and the Government of Nigeria is strongly committed to the principles of Open Government. By joining OGP, Government of Nigeria commits to transparency and accountability in the management of public office. We believe that the OGP membership will enhance innovation, economic development and accelerate transformation of our public service”, Malami stressed.
The Attorney General also revealed that, “It is important to note that Nigeria is already participating actively in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) process, and implementing the EITI standards.”
He further emphasized that, “Nigeria has also enacted the Public Procurement Act and the Fiscal Responsibility Act, with a view to enhancing transparency in public contracting and public procurement, as well as the management of public finance.
“Nigeria has also improved access to information, through the enactment of the Freedom of Information Act and the Code of Conduct Bureau Act. The requirement for the disclosure of assets by public officials is embedded in the Constitution, and all public officers are required to declare their assets every four years.
“Against the background, Nigeria is committed to working with you and other countries within the OGP framework, to implement the OGP initiatives with major focus on accountability of Government institutions, enhancing freedom of information and corporate ownership transparency, particularly in the extractive industry”, the letter concluded
OGP was launched in 2011. Its membership has grown from eight to 69 countries, and only eight are from the Africa continent, namely South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Tunisia.
With the letter, Nigeria intends to become the ninth African nation to join the coalition, with the intention that it would aid the anti-graft war.
It would be recalled that the Minister first made public the nation’s intention to enlist in the OGP in his keynote address at the Nigeria Anti-corruption Summit, held in Abuja, on 5th May, 2016.
He had disclosed that “among other commitments, we may likely see Nigeria joining the Open Government Partnership in the coming days. Joining the OGP will help Nigeria improve transparency in the management of natural resources and public funds, as well as citizen participation in governance.”