In a significant development, the Federal Government of Nigeria announced on Tuesday that it is actively considering the establishment of an International Anti-Corruption Court (IACC). The move is described as a paradigm shift in the government’s approach to combating corruption globally.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), hinted at this during the 33rd Anti-Corruption Situation Room organized by the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) Resource Centre in collaboration with Integrity Initiatives International in Abuja.
Fagbemi, represented by Deputy Director (Public Prosecution), Yusuf Abdullahi Abdulkadir, emphasized the profound impact of corruption on Nigeria’s development, stability, and prosperity. He highlighted the potential benefits of an IACC in addressing cases involving individuals and assets located abroad, often linked to grand corruption schemes that adversely affect Nigeria’s development efforts. The proposed court is seen as an additional tool to complement and strengthen the nation’s domestic anti-corruption initiatives.
The AGF characterized corruption as a significant threat to the stability, progress, and development of nations globally. He described corruption as a pervasive issue that transcends boundaries, erodes trust, undermines institutions, hinders economic growth, and perpetuates social injustice.
Olanrewaju Suraj, the Chairman of HEDA, expressed concern about the elevation of individuals accused of corruption to higher positions. He cited instances where ministers accused of corruption were reinstated or appointed to prominent roles, including agencies at the federal and state levels. Suraj emphasized the need for concerted efforts to address corruption and ensure accountability in public service.
This announcement reflects the government’s commitment to tackling corruption and exploring international mechanisms to enhance its anti-corruption efforts. The proposed International Anti-Corruption Court could play a pivotal role in addressing transnational corruption cases and furthering global collaboration in the fight against corruption.