Alex Enumah in Abuja
Members of the African Diplomatic Group in Nigeria at the weekend charged African leaders to see to the full implementation of the Africa Convention on corruption in their respective states, just as they urged other African countries yet to ratify the convention to do so without further delay.
Dean of the African Ambassadors Group in Nigeria and Ambassador of Cameroon, Salaheddine Ibrahim, who spoke on behalf of the group while noting that only 39 countries so far have ratified the convention, commended Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, for championing the war against corruption on the continent.
He was speaking at an event organised to commemorate the 2018 African Day in Abuja.
Ibrahim said, “We recognise President Muhammadu Buhari’s special contributions to the fight against corruption not only in Nigeria but, also his pledge to this fight in all the fora in the world. A special appreciation has to be made to him for having accepted to serve as champion of the African union for the theme of the year.
“The AU has put in place legal and policy framework notably the African convention on preventing and combating corruption. The convention has currently received 39 ratifications. Increase impetus is required to be able to achieve universal ratification. It is not just a matter of ratifying but after that we have to ensure that the implementation of the corruption convention is enhanced at the member states level not only at the AU level”.
He stated that the declaration of 2018 as the African anti-corruption year provides further opportunities for the consolidation of gains in the fight against corruption and enhance regional and international cooperation in dealing with corruption with a view to mobilising Africa as a whole in the fight against corruption.
Ibrahim urged key actors such as; anti-corruption agencies, parliamentarians, civil society organisations, the media, law enforcement agencies, judiciary, women and youth in member states to do everything to eradicate corruption in the continent.
He said the African day is a day set aside to collectively celebrate Africa’s unity and reconfirm the desire for an integrated, united, prosperous and peaceful Africa.
“For that date our leaders adopted important initiatives aimed at deepening Africa’s integration”, he said. Some of the major initiatives he listed include: the Continental Free Trade Area Agreement; Protocol establishing the African Economic Community, which relates to Free Movement of Persons, Rights of Residence and Rights of Establishment; and the Single Air Transport Market, which automatically allows carrier of one African country to fly to another without hindrance.
“These noble initiatives would ensure that African integration is people driven and delivers tangible results for the improvement of people’s lives”, he added.
The African Day is usually observed on the 25th of May every year but was postponed to 14th and 15th September, due to several activities held in May of 2018, including the observance of the Holy Month of Ramadan.
Activities for the celebration included speeches, cultural performances a buffet dinner of cuisine of the various African states represented in Abuja and a friendly soccer match among member states.
The group also donated tennis equipment to talented kids of Abuja at the Abuja National Stadium.
The African Day is held yearly to commemorate the founding of the then Organisation of African Unity (OAU), now the African Union (AU). Initiated on May 25, 1963, the day aims to celebrate African Unity, with each year having a different theme.