The United States Secretary of State, John Kerry has urged President Muhammadu Buhari not to relent in his fight against corruption.
He said this during his two days visit to Nigeria on Tuesday, adding that the US government is in support of the steps Buhari has taken so far in the fight against corruption.
Kerry said, “Now this is something that your president, President Buhari, understands very, very well. President Buhari was elected on a platform of clean government and the United States strongly supports the steps that he is taking in order to clean government. Nigeria is already a regional leader in many ways – economically and culturally – but you can also become a model in fighting corruption and the organized crime that so often goes along with it. And you have made a terrific start, a strong start, at all levels of government.”
According to Kerry, Bribery, fraud, other forms of venality endanger everything that we hold dear, everything that you value. They feed organized crime. They gnaw away at nation-states. They take away the legitimacy of a nation-state. They contribute to human trafficking. They discourage honest and accountable investment, and they undermine entire communities.
He noted that despite recent progress, as a global community, the world is not yet doing nearly enough to clean up and improve governance globally – and that needs to change.
“We all pay for corruption, folks. We all pay for corruption.
Corruption costs the global economy an estimated $2.6 trillion a year. That’s $2.6 trillion that could be going towards infrastructure, towards health care, towards education, food security, other initiatives – any number of areas where we know we need money to be able to make the investments that give young people that sense of future,” he stated.
Kerry explained that Corruption is not just a disgrace and a crime but also dangerous, adding that there is nothing more demoralizing, more destructive, more disempowering to a citizen than the belief that the system is rigged against them, the belief that the system is designed to fail them, and that people in positions of power, to use a diplomatic term, are “crooks” – crooks who are embezzling the future of their own people.
“Already, President Buhari is working with civil society to encourage official transparency and accountability. It is so important to restoring trust among the people.
His administration has taken important steps to prevent the theft of public funds, and to recover stolen assets,” he said.