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Strategies for Winning War Against Politically Exposed Persons in Nigeria

One major challenge to Nigeria’s search for enduring socio-economic, political andtechnological development as well as efficient and productive utilization of allocatedresources in the new millennium is the pervasive corrupt practices in the polity. Thedevastating effects of corruption in the nation have manifested in lopsided distribution ofwealth, malfunctioning and decaying infrastructure and degrading living conditions amonga great proportion of the citizenry. These have impacted negatively on all aspects of thedevelopmental agenda. The country cannot but therefore respond to both domestic andinternational pressures to confront corruption with all possible strategies available. Ironically,the institutional mechanism offered by the Constitution for the fight against corrupt practicesis itself not immune from the plague. Indeed, the creation of extra-legislative institutionssaddled with the tasks of fighting corruption is itself an indictment of the constitutionalframework and a pointer to the wide gulf of difference between the constitutionalprescriptions and the practical realities in an emerging democracy preceded by long years ofmilitary rule marked by massive corruption and rule with impunity. The attendant result ofsuch an oversight has been that the major culprits are either unnoticed, or not convicted. Therecent reconceptualisation, and mainstreaming of Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) toinclude individuals holding or having held positions of public trust, such as governmentofficials, senior executives of government corporations, as well as their families and closeassociates has brought about mixed reactions. In Nigeria, such mixed reactions have trailedthe release by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of a Graft AdvisoryList (GAL) of high profile cases involving Politically Exposed Persons, (PEPs). This articleis part of the debate. It examines the challenges facing the anti-graft agencies and thestrategies in mainstreaming Politically Exposed Persons in Nigeria’s strategy in anticorruptioncampaign. It explores the concept of Politically Exposed Persons in a thematicform, and highlights the challenges anti-graft agencies face in pinning down PEPs. The paperargues that the emergent strategy of Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) is a verticalhorizontalaccountability mechanism through which different agencies of government holdother governmental (and political) actors answerable to the law, and citizens, from below,hold their government officials answerable for their conduct. The mainstreaming anddevelopment of such a comprehensive international legal instrument against corruption, thepaper posits has the potency of bringing about a high degree of global standardization andintegration of anti-corruption measures against political corruption.