Read his speech below:

Fellow Heads of State
& Government, The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, the Rt. Honourable
Patricia Scotland, QC, Business Leaders, Representatives of Civil Society
Organizations, Your Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen.

1. I am delighted to be
invited to this event to exchange views with you my fellow invited guests
representing Governments, the Private Sector and Civil Society Organizations. I
thank you Your Excellency, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, for asking
me to speak at this gathering.

2. Corruption is a
hydra-headed monster and a cankerworm that undermines the fabric of all
societies. It does not differentiate between developed and developing
countries. It constitutes a serious threat to good governance, rule of law,
peace and security, as well as development programmes aimed at tackling poverty
and economic backwardness. These considerations informed my decision to attend
this event as well as the Anti-Corruption Summit organized by Prime Minister
Rt. Hon. David Cameron that will be held tomorrow. I expect that today’s event
would feed into the discussions that will be held tomorrow at Lancaster House.

3. In 2003, when the world
came together to sign the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) that
entered into force in 2005, it was with a view to tackling the growing threat
that corruption had become to many nations. Little did we know that eleven
years since then, the problem would still continue unabated, but even become
more intractable and cancerous.

4. Permit me to share with
you our national experience in combating corruption. I intend to do this by
placing the fight against corruption in Nigeria within the context of the three
priority programmes of our Administration. On assumption of office on 29th May
2015, we identified as our main focus three key priority programmes. They are,
combating insecurity, tackling corruption and job creation through
re-structuring the declining national economy.

5. Our starting point as
an Administration was to amply demonstrate zero tolerance for corrupt practices
as this vice is largely responsible for the social and economic problems our
country faces today. The endemic and systemic nature of corruption in our
country demanded our strong resolve to fight it. We are demonstrating our
commitment to this effort by bringing integrity to governance and showing
leadership by example.

Excellencies, Ladies and
6. Tackling the menace of
corruption is not an easy task, but it is possible even if many feathers have
to be ruffled. Our Government’s dogged commitment to tackling corruption is
also evident in the freedom and support granted to national anti-corruption
agencies to enable them to carry out their respective mandates without interference
or hindrance from any quarter including the government.

7. Today, our frontline
anti-corruption agencies, namely, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
(EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission
(ICPC), the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and the Code of Conduct Tribunal
(CCT), have become revitalised and more proactive in the pursuit of
perpetrators of corrupt practices, irrespective of their social status and
political persuasion. This is a radical departure from the past.

8. We have implemented the
Treasury Single Account (TSA) whereby all Federal government revenue goes into
one account. This measure would make it impossible for public officers to
divert public funds to private accounts as was the practice before. Through the
effective application of TSA and the Bank Verification Number (BVN), we have
been able to remove 23,000 ghost workers from our pay roll, thereby saving
billions that would have been stolen.

9. We are also reviewing
our anti-corruption laws and have developed a national anti-corruption strategy
document that will guide our policies in the next three years, and possibly

10. I am not unaware of
the challenges of fighting corruption in a manner consistent with respect for
human rights and the rule of law. As a country that came out of prolonged
military rule only sixteen years ago, it will clearly take time to change the
mentality and psychology of law enforcement officers. I am committed to
applying the rule of law and to respecting human rights. I also require our
security agencies to do the same.

11. I admit that there are
a few cases where apparently stringent rules have been applied as a result of
threats to national security and the likelihood that certain persons may escape
from the country or seek to undermine the stability of Nigeria. It is for this
reason that we are seeking the support of many countries for the prosecution of
certain individuals residing in their jurisdictions. Of course we will provide
the necessary legal documents and whatever mutual assistance is required to
secure conviction of such individuals, as well as facilitate the repatriation
of our stolen assets.

12. Unfortunately, our
experience has been that repatriation of corrupt proceeds is very tedious, time
consuming, costly and entails more than just the signing of bilateral or
multilateral agreements. This should not be the case as there are provisions in
the appropriate United Nations Convention that require countries to return
assets to countries from where it is proven that they were illegitimately

13. Further, we are
favourably disposed to forging strategic partnerships with governments, civil
society organizations, organized private sector and international organizations
to combat corruption. Our sad national experience had been that domestic
perpetrators of corrupt practices do often work hand-in-hand with international
criminal cartels.

14. This evil practice is
manifested in the plundering and stealing of public funds, which are then
transferred abroad into secret accounts. I therefore, call for the
establishment of an international anti-corruption infrastructure that will
monitor, trace and facilitate the return of such assets to their countries of
origin. It is important to stress that the repatriation of identified stolen
funds should be done without delay or preconditions.

15. In addition to the
looting of public funds, Nigeria is also confronted with illegal activities in
the oil sector, the mainstay of our export economy. That this industry has been
enmeshed in corruption with the participation of the staff of some of the oil
companies is well established. Their participation enabled oil theft to take
place on a massive scale.

16. Some of us in this
hall may be familiar with the Report released by Chatham House, here in London,
in 2013, titled “Nigeria’s Criminal Crude: International Options to Combat the
Export of Stolen Oil.” The important findings of the Chatham House document are
illuminating and troubling. Part of the Report concluded that:

a) Nigerian crude oil is being stolen on an industrial scale and exported, with
the proceeds laundered through world financial centres by transnational
organized criminals.

b) Oil theft is a species of organized crime that is almost totally off the international
community’s radar, as Nigeria’s trade and diplomatic partners have taken no
real action.

c) Nigeria could not stop the trade single-handedly, and there is limited value
in countries going it alone.

17. It is clear therefore,
that the menace of oil theft, put at over 150,000 barrels per day, is a
criminal enterprise involving internal and external perpetrators. Illicit oil
cargoes and their proceeds move across international borders. Opaque and murky
as these illegal transactions may be, they are certainly traceable and can be
acted upon, if all governments show the required political will. This will has
been the missing link in the international efforts hitherto. Now in London, we
can turn a new page by creating a multi-state and multi-stakeholder partnership
to address this menace.

18. We, therefore, call on
the international community to designate oil theft as an international crime
similar to the trade in “blood diamonds”, as it constitutes an imminent and
credible threat to the economy and stability of oil-producing countries like
Nigeria. The critical stakeholders here present can lead the charge in this

Excellencies, Ladies and
19. By the end of our
summit tomorrow, we should be able to agree on a rules-based architecture to
combat corruption in all its forms and manifestations. I agree fully with the
Commonwealth Secretary-General that anti-corruption is a shared agenda for
civil society, business and government, requiring commitment from companies,
creating a space for civil society and governments providing support for

20. A main component of
this anti-corruption partnership is that governments must demonstrate
unquestionable political will and commitment to the fight. The private sector
must come clean and be transparent, and civil society, while keeping a watch on
all stakeholders, must act and report with a sense of responsibility and

21. For our part, Nigeria
is committed to signing the Open Government Partnership initiatives alongside
Prime Minister Cameron during the Summit tomorrow.

22. In conclusion, may I
commend the Commonwealth Secretary-General and her team for hosting this
important event. This is a very encouraging way to start your tenure. We wish
you the very best as you guide the affairs of the Commonwealth family in the
years to come.

23. I thank you.

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