Nigerian officials rose from the U.S.-Nigeria Bi-National Commission (BNC) meeting on Wednesday without committing the Buhari administration to a key demand of their American counterparts, membership of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and the Partnership on Illicit Finance (PIF), two anti-corruption initiatives promoted by the United States government.
Launched in 2011 and 2014 respectively, OGP and PIF are multilateral initiatives that require policy and technology-backed anti-corruption framework in member countries.
OGP signatory governments are required to develop action plans that elaborate their commitment to defined standards of government integrity, citizen participation, corporate accountability, public safety and effective management of public resources, all of which are to be overseen and verified by a multi-stakeholder international steering committee of governments and leading civil society representatives.
PIF is an outcome of the historic U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit which was attended by Nigeria and 50 other countries.
It requires member nations to develop action plans to stem cross-border corruption-related financial flow which they can execute in conjunction with the United States. Nigeria currently ranks 10 on the global index of countries with high illicit financial flow.
American officials were vocal about their desire to see Nigeria join OGP and PIF preparatory to the BNC meeting.
Speaking on U.S.-Nigeria partnership at the United States Institute for Peace (USIP) two days before the meeting, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of African Affairs, praised President Buhari’s “strong position on fighting corruption”.
She pledged U.S. support for law enforcement and judicial investigation and prosecution of “complex corruption cases” and called on Nigeria to “join the growing global community that is using OGP and PIF to strengthen transparency, accountability, and good governance”.
Nigerian delegation to the BNC, led by Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Foreign Affairs, did not elaborate on their objection to membership of the OGP and PIF. The 19-paragraph communique issued at the end of the meeting stated that the “BNC discussed the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and the Partnership on Illicit Finance (PIF)” and that the U.S. delegation talked about the “potential benefits to Nigeria of membership in these two initiatives”.
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