On Thursday, Transparency International Senior Advisor Sir Ian Andrews, and Defence and Security Director Katherine Dixon facilitated a day of high level discussions with the leadership of the Nigerian Air Force. The aim was to identify the corruption risks which face the Nigerian armed forces, discuss the initiatives already taken, and to begin to develop mechanisms to address them.
Sessions included a full discussion of the challenges facing the Air Force including issues surrounding defence budget processes, personnel integrity, and procurement systems. TI facilitators presented lessons from international best practice, including the vital role of political leadership, a commitment to transparency, and external independent oversight mechanisms which had been crucial factors underpinning successful defence transformations in other context, such as Colombia.
The entire leadership of the Air Force was present or represented, including the Chief of Air Staff, Air Officers Commanding and Branch Chiefs.
Katherine Dixon, Director Transparency International Defence and Security, said:
“We welcome the positive participation of the Air Force. The purpose of the event was to create a forum for the leadership to discuss openly the corruption risks as they see them. The Nigerian Air Force outlined the steps they had taken to address these challenges and we strongly encouraged them to end the presumption towards secrecy and open these measures up to public scrutiny.”
Transparency International has outlined a number of recommendations for systemic reform of the Nigerian Defence sector including the development of unified anti-corruption strategy, extending public access defence and security information, and strengthening external oversight particularly over confidential procurements.
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Jon Le Marquand