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

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms 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.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid