Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) official, Mr Auwal Rafsanjani, has expressed optimism that Nigeria will achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 with sustained political will.
SDG 16 is about peace, justice and strong institutions.
Rafsanjani said in New York after SDG 16 Nigeria Shadow Report, 2022, was launched, that Nigeria was already making some progress to achieve the goal.
The SDG 16 Shadow Report was launched on the sidelines of 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
The Report seeks to measure Nigeria’s progress on SDG 16, specifically targets 16.4 which deals with anti-money laundering, 16.5 which looks at beneficial ownership and 16.10 which looks at access to information.
According to him, if there is political will, issues of corruption, justice, human rights, freedom of expression or freedom of press are very possible that Nigeria could achieve those targets.
Rafsanjani said that civil society was determined to support government to achieve that goal.
“That is why we are coming up with the Shadow report to remind government where we are and to remind government its own commitment.
“Nigeria already is a member of Open Government Partnership and Nigeria is a member of Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI).
So, these are global initiatives that are supposed to help bring the state actors or non-state actors together to support of the efforts of government, and Nigeria is a signatory to the EITI.
“As a matter of fact, we are one of the first countries that legislated law on EITI, which is called NEITI – Nigerian Extractive Transparency Initiatives,’’ he said.
The official said Nigeria had also, during the London summit of anti-corruption, hosted and organised by British Government, made commitments to so many things that will help strengthen more transparency and accountability.
He said one of the major things that Nigerian government had to show more commitment and seriousness was, of course, in strengthening anti- corruption.
“The country needs to strengthen anti-corruption to work by ensuring that policy and framework are implemented, and that political corruption are dealt with squarely.
“If we are able to do this and carry out reform in the judicial sector, we’ll be able to begin to smile and see the possibility of achieving the SDG 16.
“Nigeria has signified entrance to ensure that access recovery is done in a manner that will have to enhance more transparency.
“Nigerian government is determined to ensure that the SDG 16 is achievable because civil society already is committed and is willing to work with the government to support government to achieve that.’’
According to him, Nigeria has made progress in some few areas and therefore, we need to continue to encourage government and the area of the prohibition of the anti- money laundering, in the area of legislation on proceeds of crime.
Speaking at the launch of the Report, Mathew Jenkins, Research Manager, said that CISLAC was a powerful advocate for meaningful reforms to tackle the devastating impact of corruption across the entire 2030 agenda.
“Today’s launch is also a testimony to the value of longitudinal research, tracking changes both positive and negative over time from an initial baseline.
“This benchmark allows anti-corruption practitioners to understand what has worked and where obstacles remain to achieving the 2030 targets.
In addition, Jenkins said CISLAC worked under the SANCTUS project, which focused on the core problem of dirty money in Nigerian politics.
This can make a powerful contribution to that goal, especially considering the upcoming general elections.
“Dirty Money in politics invariably shifts politicians’ preferences towards the concerns of the rich and powerful to the detriment of poor and marginalised groups.
It’s an anathema to the international pledge as part of the SDG agenda to leave no one behind.”
By Cecilia Ologunagba