The Nigerian government has made the fight against corruption a top priority, re-affirming its commitment to reform the criminal justice system.
The British Council was recently awarded a new EU-funded contract to manage the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) project in Nigeria. The four-year project, running from now until 2021, aims to enhance good governance in the country by contributing to strengthening the rule of law, curbing corruption and reducing impunity.
Corruption pervades all level of government in Nigeria, causing a massive strain on public resources and eroding citizen trust and confidence in the system. Successive governments have devised numerous ways of tackling this threat, particularly since the country’s return to civilian rule, passing legislation and setting up anti-corruption agencies with a mandate to independently investigate, prosecute and prevent corruption.
Nigerian criminal justice and anti-corruption sectors are, however, highly complex. Three branches of government at both federal and state level play central roles in terms of policy-making, legislation, litigation and adjudication. And various federal and state institutions and agencies are involved in law enforcement, implementation and service delivery.
CSOs are critical to the reform process. They exercise roles on both the supply side, like providing legal aid, and demand side, such as raising awareness among the general public of their rights and issues, acting as a watchdog, advocating for better governance and holding government to account.
On an international level, Nigeria has ratified and signed the United Nations Convention Against Corruption and is a signatory to both the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption and the Economic Community of West African States Protocol on the fight against Corruption.
The main expected outcomes of the RoLAC project are to:
- advance the timely, effective and transparent dispensation of criminal justice
- strengthen access to justice for women, children and persons with disabilities at federal and state levels
- strengthen the fight against corruption by reinforcing prevention mechanisms and building the capacity of anti-corruption agencies
- enhance civil society and public engagement in the fight against corruption and the criminal justice reform process.
This new contract enables the British Council to build on its experience and lessons learned over the past 15 years implementing anti-corruption, justice and governance programmes in Nigeria, for example Justice for All programme and Security, Justice and Growth programme.