20 December 2012

Nigeria: U.S. Charges Nation On Graft, Police Funding

United State of America has urged the Nigerian government to do more on funding of the police as well as the handling of corruption, as it scares foreign businessmen from investing in the country.

The Anti-Crime Programme Coordinator of the United States Embassy in Nigeria, Diane Kohn, said at a media briefing in Abuja Tuesday that although Nigeria is not the only nation where corruption exists, the challenge in Nigeria is such that money is taken directly from services which could enhance the welfare of ordinary citizens.

"What we are saying is that, yes Nigeria, we are going to help you trace the money but you have to go after the corrupt officials. One thing that we have found and is very apparent in Nigeria is that corruption affects not only your economy, it directly sucks money out of your economy.

Things that the government should be doing like building of roads, providing, power, all these things they are sucking money out of all of these things.

In addition, because of the high exposure to corruption, foreign companies are nervous about investing in Nigeria because they are afraid they are going to be approached for a bribe and they know what will happen if they pay the bribe when they are found out. We've already seen what happened to companies that paid bribes", she said. She challenged Nigerian authorities to do more to deal with proven cases of corruption among officials even as the United States continues to provide support.

Making a case for better finding of the police, she said, "The police should be fully funded to protect Nigerian citizens. We see that the police are not fully funded, their training facilities are in very poor shape, the police are not being trained to do everything they are supposed to do to keep Nigerians safe. The security sector is suffering from lack of adequate budget. And this is because of corruption. When corruption sucks money from the economy, it is also taking money away from your security".

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