Calls for support, interventions in critical issues
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, on Saturday, congratulated the United States President-elect, Joe Biden, and Vice President-elect, Kamala Harris, on there for victory at the November 3rd, 2020 presidential poll.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Executive Director, CISLAC and Head of Transparency International Nigeria, Auwal Rafsanjani, while expressing hope over the declaration of the election which reads, “the progressive change that reflects the aspirations and desires of the people of United States as well as high anticipation of the international community for the US leadership in pressing global matters”, which the organization called on CISLAC to appealed to the President-elect to give attention to Nigeria in his foreign policy in the areas of accountability and good governance in Nigeria.
The statement also called on Biden’s presidency to quickly intervene in what it described as the deteriorating socio-economic situation, which also would have negative repercussions for global security, and by extension affect the United States of America.
The statement reads in part, “While looking forward to working with the President’s-elect administration as the US support has been instrumental in advancing CISLAC’s goals in the past, we want Nigeria-US bilateral trade to benefit the Nigerian society.
“This is because strengthening of the Nigeria-United States bilateral relationship through trade, investment, and transfer of know-how remains paramount to mitigate the fast-growing unemployment challenges and boost industrialisation with youth employment opportunities.”
The statement also pointed out that trade relationships with developed countries have sadly deepened the economic inequality in Nigeria, but expressed optimism that trade could serve as a catalyst for economic and human development if conducted in equity and fairness.
“It is in the interest of the United States that bilateral trade benefits all segments of the Nigerian society by contributing to poverty reduction in a country with over half of the 200 million population live in abject poverty while just over 50,000 of Nigerians enjoy an immense wealth of at least $1 million in assets
“We also want formulation and implementation of what it calls a coherent policy to address the lingering insecurity in Nigeria because every Nigerian feels the harrowing impact and consequences of generalised insecurity, kidnapping for ransoms, rural banditry, attacks by insurgents and wide socio-economic dissatisfaction.
“With recent public riots across Nigeria that occasioned breakdown of law and order, which ought not to be because of the immense wealth from natural resources Nigeria owns.
“It is therefore important to draw the attention of the President-elect to what it calls the systemic corruption that has eaten deep into Nigeria’s public sphere including unaccounted asset recovery and normalised money laundering.
“It is estimated that the cost of corruption in Nigeria runs as high as 30 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP, and the downside of the Nigerian Government claiming recovery of assets worth billions of Dollars but without proper accountability on the management and utilization of the assets as to prevent re-looting.”
The statement also implored US and the international community to contribute towards strengthening electoral reform “beyond Smart Card Reader innovation; expand shrinking civil society space; unchecked pocket-serving ethno-religion politics in Nigeria; and divisive and unhealthy separatist agitations.
However, the statement advised Biden presidency against imposing sanctions on Nigeria, saying such would be counter-productive and will harm the poor.