The Ambassador of the European Union (EU) and Head of Delegation to Nigeria, Mr. Michel Arrion has alleged that Nigeria’s stolen funds are not only found in Europe but all over the world. Arrion stated this at a press briefing on Wednesday in Abuja, while pledging support of the union to President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts to recover Nigeria’s looted funds.
Mr. Arrion explained that while there were stolen funds in some European countries, but assured that it is a bilateral issue between Nigeria and the concerned European countries, that the EU will continue to give advocacy support.
In his statement:
“Nigeria’s stolen funds are not only in Europe; they are everywhere. So we are happy to see that President Muhammadu Buhari went to UAE (United Arab Emirate) to discuss the repatriation of stolen wealth.
“We welcome any form of cooperation in the judicial , the police cooperation that Nigeria wants to have with EU member-states.”
The EU envoy also noted that even though all countries are fighting corruption, the level of commitment differs. He however remarked that the level of corruption in Nigeria had impacted negatively on the economy and infrastructure.
Therefore he cautioned against executive interference with the judiciary in the fight against corruption, adding that it is important for the executive to make statement on expeditious trial of corruption cases.
“There have been cases of abandoned corruption trials in the past, so there is nothing wrong with the executive making statement on expeditious trial of corruption cases. “But prosecution must be within the ambit of the Rule of Law.”
He said the EU is supporting Nigeria’s fight against corruption through a range of programmes, aimed at strengthening the anti-corruption agencies and the criminal justice system.
According to him, the EU’s support is not only to prevent the incidence of corruption, but also to deal with corruption cases when they occur.
Arrion explained that the EU is supporting the fight against corruption in Nigeria through a 35 million Euros project being implemented nationwide by the UN Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC). He said the EU support to the Justice Sector Reform in Nigeria with the UNODC is currently being implemented in six focal states. He said the projects, which targeted various anti-corruption cases, sought to evolve a coordination mechanism for the implementation of anti-corruption strategies.
Recall: The European Union works closely with the Nigerian authorities (Agrofood – Nigeria) to improve Nigeria’s business environment and competitiveness, to support its industrial revolution agenda and to ensure quality of (food) products.