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Buhari Signs Agreements To Strengthen Anti-Graft War

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday signed nine international agreements, some of which are meant to reinvigorate the anti-corruption war of government.
 The Green Ink: President Buhari signs Instrument of Ratification for International Agreements between Nigeria and Other Countries in State House on 24th Aug 2017. Photo Credit: Bayo Omoboriowo

Performing the ceremony for Nigeria’s ratification of the agreements at the First Lady Wing of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, he said it was an important milestone in the demonstration of the country’s sovereign capacity to fulfill its international obligations.

Expressing delight in signing the documents, he averred that it was in pursuant to the powers conferred on him by Section 5(1) (a) and (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Article 7 of the Vienna Convention on the law of treaties of 1969.

“Today’s ceremony marks a very important milestone in our demonstration of sovereign capacity to fulfill our international obligations and take important steps for the benefit of our economy, security and the anti-corruption war within and outside Nigeria,” he said.

The agreements pertaining to anti-corruption have been replicated by the United Arab Emirates (U. A. E.), where much of illicit funds from Nigeria are believed to flow to.

These agreements include Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Civil and Commercial Matters, Agreement on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons and Extradition Treaty.

Buhari explained why the implementation of the agreements had been delayed saying that it was because of the need for both sides to conclude their ratification process.

He said: “The full implementation of the Agreements has however, been delayed due to the need by both sides to conclude their respective ratification processes.

“I am happy to note therefore, that pursuant to a Memorandum presented to the Federal Executive Council by the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Council has approved the ratification of the said Agreements, thus paving the way for today’s ceremony.

“With this sovereign act, which has been replicated in the United Arab Emirates by their responsible authorities, we are now in a position to utilise these Agreements fully to foster cooperation between our respective authorities particularly for the purpose of prosecuting the anti-corruption campaign of this Government.”

Other agreements the president signed are Charter for the Lake Chad Basin between Nigeria, Cameroun, Central African Republic, Libya, Niger and the Republic of Chad, African Tax Administration Forum Agreement on Mutual Assistance in Tax Matters, World Intellectual Property Organisation Performances and Phonograms Treaty, The World Intellectual Property Organisation Treaty on Audio-Visual Performances and Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate access to published works for persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise.

Buhari expressed the hope that these Instruments will “reinvigorate the anti-corruption war and check the illicit flow of funds out of our country to other jurisdictions, improve national security, food security, boost our economic and tax regimes and improve the overall well-being of our creative community.”

He therefore directed all agencies of Government with roles to play under the respective Treaties now ratified “to ensure that they play their anticipated roles in an effective and responsible manner in order to ensure that we reap the full benefits of these Agreements.”

In his remarks before the ratification, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, revealed that government has prioritised the concretisation of the agreements with U.A.E. in order to put Nigeria in the position to press for illicit funds transferred to the Middle Eastern country.

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