News / Africa

Rights Group: Despite Dismissal, Reforms Still Needed in Nigeria’s Anti-Corruption Campaign

Multimedia

Audio
  • Listen to Butty interview with Albin-Lackey of Human Rights Watch

James Butty

A U.S.-based rights group says Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan’s sudden decision to fire the chairman of the anti-corruption commission will not solve the agency’s longstanding problems.

President Jonathan Wednesday dismissed Farida Waziri as chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, or EFCC.  A government statement did not say why she was removed.

Chris Albin-Lackey, senior researcher for Human Rights Watch, says Nigeria must carry out broad institutional reforms if the country is to make real progress in its fight against corruption.

“I think the important thing to bear in mind is that, however one feels about Waziri, firing her isn’t going to make things that much better or worse for the EFCC, unless the government starts to tackle some of the institutional reasons why that institution’s role in the fight against corruption has been a bit disappointing,” he said.

Albin-Lackey said the government’s failure to give reasons for Waziri’s dismissal points to one of the major problems that the EFCC has had - which is executive interference.

“The president should not be able to fire the chairman of the EFCC at will without even explaining why it is happening.  As long as the head of the commission can be stopped by the president for no reason, it’s not going to be able to be independent and be able to do its job in any kind of respected manner,” Albin-Lackey said.

He said Nigeria’s “weak and overburdened judiciary” has also been an obstacle to the effective prosecution of corruption cases.

“The institutions that it [EFCC] has to work [with] in order to do its job, in order to effectively prosecute anyone, have to be made more functional.  A lot of the EFCC’s most important cases have been bogged down, literally, for years in procedural delays in the courts.  And, unless the courts are empowered and also pressured into handling some of these cases in more expeditious manner, justice delayed will continue to be justice denied,” Albin-Lackey said.

Waziri was replaced with Ibrahim Lamorde, who was previously the EFCC's director of operations.

Albin-Lackey said it was not clear whether Waziri’s dismissal was an indication of President Jonathan’s renewed commitment to fight corruption.

“As to whether this signals a good or bad change on the part of the president and his policies toward the fight against corruption, it really all depends on what happens next.  If this is followed up by nothing, then I think it’s pretty hard to interpret [it] as a good sign, but if Waziri’s firing is followed by serious reforms to address some of the things that prevented the EFCC from working as well as it could, then there will be reason to be optimistic,” Albin-Lackey said.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs