Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) made these assertions during an anti-corruption radio programme, PUBLIC CONSCIENCE, produced by the Progressive Impact Organisation for Community Development, PRIMORG, Wednesday in Abuja.
HEDA’s Legal Officer, David Ogungbesan, underscored the importance of establishing an international anti-corruption court, noting that it is necessary given the rising need to strengthen the prosecution of corrupt individuals, as well as urged Nigerians to support the advocacy.
Ogungbesan stressed that having an international court to try graft will deter public officers from engaging in corrupt acts to help local law enforcement agencies and the administration of justice in the country, adding that it provides the opportunity for Nigeria and other countries to explore international means towards mitigating corruption.
“The impact of corruption on Nigerian society is there for everyone to see. We believe that besides preventing corruption, a way to go about it is by prosecution, which is a good measure to deter public officers from engaging in corrupt practices. The international anti-corruption court will also aid the local law enforcement agencies and the situation of injustice in the system.
“It’s an opportunity for Nigeria, and of course, other countries to explore international means towards reducing corruption in our society. It will not be conflicting with the court of the land but will be important in combating illicit financial flow,” He stressed.
Ogungbesan revealed that the immediate past president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari and over 100 world leaders have hitherto expressed support for establishing an international court to prosecute corruption. He acknowledged that there would be challenges against establishing an international court to prosecute corruption. He urged citizens to hold leaders to account and support the initiative given the positives it brings.
“The people need to take this advocacy seriously. They should talk about it, engage their representatives, and buy into this idea,” Ogungbesan stressed.
On her part, Programme Officer at West African Bar Association, Dabotonye Dappa, also urged Nigerians to support the initiative of a special court to prosecute corruption while citing judiciary independence and lack of political will by leaders to fight crime as a “major problem.”
Her words: “In trying to tackle lack of political will, the judiciary has a huge role to play, and that is why we call for the independence of the judiciary, not a judiciary that is influenced by the Executive.
“Because at the end of the day, in fighting corruption, we end up in the courts, and when we have judges that are being influenced by the same corrupt people we are fighting, we are back to square one,” Dappa stated.
Public Conscience is a syndicated weekly anti-corruption radio program PRIMORG uses to draw government and citizens’ attention to corruption and integrity issues in Nigeria.
The program has the support of the MacArthur Foundation.