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Groups task CSOs, media, others on climate change, illicit cash flows

Illicit financial flows

Community-based groups have called on the media, labour, the academia and others to strengthen alliance and network to decisively wage vigorous campaigns against climate change peril.

The groups also charged them to rise against illicit financial flows (IFFs) from Africa (Nigeria inclusive), blaming the trend for the poverty, misery, unemployment and the surging wave of violence and desperation of many African countries.

This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of the one-day workshop on: “Illicit Financial Flow, Gas Flaring and COP 26,” organised by Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) Resource Centre, Re-Common and Cornerhouse in collaboration with Fossil Fuel Non- Proliferation Treaty Initiative and supported by MacArthur Foundation, held in Lagos.

Participants maintained that corruption remains a growing threat to global security and prosperity, saying corruption has continued to undermine human and material potentials of Nigeria, fuel poverty, hunger, starvation and, economic and political instabilities.

They cited illicit financial flows as one of the major contributory factors to corruption leading to billions of dollars being siphoned from Nigeria every year by public and private officials, thereby stunting the country’s growth and economic wellbeing.

The communiqué reads: “Oil and Gas is the mainstay of Nigerian political-economy, while the sector remains one of the dark spots of sleaze. Since 1956 when oil was first discovered in Nigeria, billions of dollars have been sourced by the Nigerian authorities but have neither translated to prosperity nor improve the lives of millions of Nigerians who remain poor and vulnerable.

“An outstanding means of corruption and illicit financial flow in the oil sector is through gas flaring whereas the impact of climate change on livelihood in Nigeria is real.”

Themed, Illicit Financial Flow and Gas Flaring as Albatross to Nigeria’s Climate Change Response: Building Momentum towards COP 26, participants described illicit financial flows and gas flaring as a major threat to livelihood and climate change, which must be halted.

Since 1956 when oil was first discovered in Nigeria, billions of dollars have been sourced by the Nigerian authorities but have neither translated to prosperity nor improve the lives of millions of Nigerians who remain poor and vulnerable.

They also averred that climate change remains a phenomenal challenge, noting that Africa, including Nigeria, should therefore rise up to the perilous challenge.

They said: “Nigerian Government should employ modern technology in the detection of the quantity and quality of oil and gas exported from the country. This should lead to freezing and demobilization of assets such as shares and real property apart from the repatriation of all stolen funds, which should be incorporated into projects that impact on the essential needs of Nigerians.

“Retrieving illicit funds requires the employment of legal and diplomatic mechanisms within the framework of best global practices. This means that Africa, including Nigeria, should work towards stopping corruption at home to prevent illicit financial flow from the continent.

“…Climate change as a major challenge also comes with associated opportunities to explore new technology, new knowledge yet Africa is yet to key into this window. The continent should focus also on research and initiatives to indigenous solutions to complement global efforts to resolve the challenge posed by Climate Change.”

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