Transparency International, the global anti-corruption movement, deplores the action taken by the government of Nigeria to name the late president of Nigeria, General Sani Abacha, as a recipient of the country’s Centenary Awards. It calls on the government to rescind the award.
In his lifetime Gen. Abacha was investigated for corruption and human rights violations. Just last week the United States government froze US$458 million in assets it claims he and co-conspirators stole from Nigeria.
“Honouring a person with a reputation for abusing his position of power for personal gain – the Transparency International definition of corruption – sends the wrong message about the priorities of a country like Nigeria which has claimed that fighting corruption is at the top of the government’s agenda,” said Chantal Uwimana, Regional Director for Sub-Sahara Africa at Transparency International.
Giving an award to a public official implicated in numerous acts of corruption contradicts Nigeria’s international commitments and obligations to stop corruption.
“I applaud those who have rejected their Centenary Awards in protest. They send a clear message that there are social consequences for honouring those who abused their positions of power by creating an embarrassing situation for those handing out the Centenary Award,” Uwimana added.