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Nigeria wins seaport anti-corruption award

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By Abiodun Okunloye

Nigeria receives "Outstanding Achievement in Collective Action Award"

A prestigious international award has been awarded to Nigeria in recognition of the nation’s multifaceted efforts to fight Corruption at the country’s seaports. This accomplishment won Nigeria and the Convention on Business Integrity (CBi) widespread accolades, notably the first-ever “Outstanding Achievement in Collective Action Award” from the Basel Institute on Governance, which is situated in Switzerland. It happened as a follow-up to the collaborative partnerships of the federal government, the private sector, and a Civil Society organization known as the CBi to reduce instances of corruption at the Seaports.

This information was made public recently during a call that a delegation from the CBi made to the State House in Abuja to pay a courtesy to the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo. In particular, due to the combined efforts of the federal government’s agencies, including the Shippers Council, DSS, ICPC, the Technical Unit on Governance & Anti-Corruption Reforms (TUGAR), the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), and the CBi through the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN), the cost of berthing a ship in Nigeria has significantly decreased from $150,000 per vessel that enters the country to around $20,000.

The country’s success is attracting international recognition.

According to Mr. Olusoji Apampa, co-founder of CBi, the success achieved is already garnering international attention, as countries such as Egypt, Ukraine, and India intend to replicate the “Nigerian miracle” model to make similar improvements in their own port operations. The work done by the Nigerian Maritime Accident Complaints Network (MACN) was recognized with an international award. The MACN established a real-time Help Desk to address the issues and complaints of shipping businesses as soon as the ships arrive at the ports.

The international organization, with its headquarters in Switzerland, acknowledged the initiative for the collaborative effort in which government, business, and civil society have worked together to bring change. It was made possible by developing the first-ever, real-time Anti-Corruption Helpline in Nigerian Ports, which promptly reports and addresses corruption-related concerns. The organization also stated that since the federal government established the Help Desk in 2020, this has monitored the arrival of slightly less than 700 ships to Nigerian ports.

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Furthermore, the CBi explained to the vice president that without his assistance, would not have been feasible. The Vice President, who welcomed the delegation and award on behalf of the country, praised the work of the CBi and the MACN in conjunction with federal government agencies, saying that the Buhari administration will continue to back efforts to enhance the business environment and Economy. He added that this is good news for the country’s anti-corruption efforts, adding that the fight against corruption needs to be kept on target.

Osinbajo said the government needs to capture the attention of young people by expanding the narrative on the necessity of integrity and the battle against corruption. The fact is that they must carry this through. In 2019, the ICPC successfully implemented a sting operation in support of the FG’s port reforms, which were based on Executive Order 001. The Shippers Council, Nigerian Ports Authority, and Department of State Services formed the Port Standing Task Team (PSTT) and Independent Corrupt Practices Commission in December 2020.

The PSTT ensures compliance and curbs illegal activities at the seaports.

Moreover, the Nigeria Ports Process Manual (NPPM) was established, and the PSTT, chaired by the Shippers Council, was charged with implementing and enforcing compliance. According to the MACN, prior to the formation of the PSTT, there were 266 instances in which officials at the ports in the operation of vessel clearance demanded huge sums of cash that were not accompanied by receipts. Since the PSTT was established in 2020, the number of instances of such practice has decreased to the current low of 128.


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