Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama has declared that Nigeria remained steadfast in the fight against corruption and called for close collaborations to fight the menace to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Onyeama stated this at an event on “Building Interactive Coalition against Corruption to Achieve the SDGs” co-hosted by Britain, Denmark and Nigeria on the margin of the UN General Assembly.

The minister decried that Nigeria had suffered from the severe effects of corruption, leading to the loss of billions of dollars to foreign havens since independence.

He regretted that these huge sums of money were stolen and expatriated by corrupt officials and their accomplices.

According to him, however, Nigeria recognises the importance of collective commitment to winning the fight against corruption and every form of impunity.

“From the onset of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, fighting corruption has been one of the three pillars of the administration’s priority programmes.

“Buhari demonstrated zero tolerance for corrupt practices by combating corruption head-on. The administration has not strengthened all relevant institutions to fight corruption in all its forms and manifestations.

“It has also introduced a new anti-corruption strategy, which was launched in 2017,” he said.

Onyeama said the National Assembly had passed several legislation and was currently debating others in its efforts to combat corruption, adding that “Nigeria now has the ‘Whistle Blowing Policy’.

“Nigeria remains steadfast in the fight against corruption and this common goal we share is within reach.

“What is required is close collaboration with all stakeholders and a concerted focus to ensure that our commitments in the anti-corruption campaign are achieved.”

Onyeama called for strengthening of existing instruments of international cooperation against corruption and criminal matters to effectively build interactive coalition against corruption.

According to him, all States Parties need to develop strategies to prevent and combat all illicit financial flows as well as measures to fight against economic and financial crime including fraud.

The minister called for the repatriation of stolen funds to countries of origin, in addition to commitment to the political will to fight corruption on all its forms.

“We look forward to the support of the UN to ensure a successful engagement and strategy to eliminate corruption in Africa.

“This is so that the SDGs and indeed the AU Agenda 2063 can be fully implemented and results achieved for development effectiveness to be realized.