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Corruption, insecurity fuelled resurgence of military coups in Africa – ICPC

Corruption, insecurity fuelled resurgence of military coups in Africa – ICPC

Bolaji Owasanoye, Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) said corruption, discontent, insecurity are key factors that led to the resurgence of military coups across Africa in the last two years.

Owasonye stated this at the 5th Annual General Assembly Meeting of the Network of National Anti-corruption institutions in West Africa (NACIWA) in Abuja on Monday, with the theme, “The Role of Regional Economic Communities in the Implementation of the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption”. The event was jointly organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The ICPC boss said an organisation such as NACIWA could encourage member states to criminalise corrupt practices and adopt legislative, police and technical measures for the prevention and detection of corrupt practices.

Owasanoye added that the theme was significant because it underscores the fact that regional Economic Communities such as ECOWAS are vital in the implementation of the laudable objectives of the Convention.

“Let me note with concern that the sub-region has in the past two years witnessed a resurgence of military take over of governments and a reversal of years of gains of democratic culture in our 15 nation regional member states. The new wave started in Mali in 2020 followed by Guinea in 2021 and most recently Burkina Faso in February 2022 just last month. There have been reported failed attempts in other places, most notably Guinea Bissau. The question is what role has corruption played in the resurgence of military coups in the West African sub-region,” he said.

He added, “We are all aware that corruption is a significant contributory factor to Africa’s under-development. This realisation informed the adoption of the convention, and I dare say, the formation of NACIWA.

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“One can summarise that the inability of our institutions to fully implement our individual mandates and by implication, the regional treaty obligations is a contributing factor to the resurgence of unconstitutional take over of government within the West African sub-region.

“I have no doubt that we will all rededicate ourselves at this conference in our discussion in fighting corruption as the common enemy which is threatening the stability of our countries.”

The President of the ECOWAS Commission, President Jean Claude Kassi Brou, said that corruption remains a major problem in the overall governance process across the ECOWAS Member States.

Brou who was represented by Prof Femi Ajibawa said, in recent times, the corruption crisis has led to a loss of trust and confidence between the citizenry and government.

He added that it was an issue that has partly contributed to the democratic reversal that the ECOWAS region was currently facing.

“A coherent, coordinated and renewed commitment to fight corruption and promote integrity is now crucial to restoring citizens’ confidence.

“This will also pave the way for democratic consolidation, inclusive development and sustainable peace in the region, ” he said.

On his part, President NACIWA, Francis Kaifala, said the network has been very active in the Anti-corruption drive in the sub-region.

He, however emphasised that the recent cases of coups had affected NACIMA’s mission and vision in West Africa.

“The work of our membership has been useful in coordinating our activities to ensure that we conduct borderless investigations and support each other, addressing money laundering and other financial related crimes plaguing the region”.