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

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora