In a move evocative of the controversy best captured by Jennifer Rubenstein’s “Why It is Beside the Point that No one Elected Oxfam”, MacArthur Foundation is spending a whopping sum of USD$9million on strengthening accountability as an anti-corruption strategy in Nigeria. The money is expected to contribute to reducing incidence of corruption in Nigeria by building an atmosphere of accountability, transparency and good governance.
Dr Kole Shettima, MacArthur’s Director of the Nigeria Office argues that addressing corruption requires action and partnership among a wide range of people and groups, from the government to the media, civil society, communities and consumers, pointing out how the grant will reinforce and expand the growing network of organisations committed to investigation, advocacy, accountability and transparency.
The grant in question would support non-profit platforms working to advance criminal justice reform or fight corruption and who, along with other partners supported by the Foundation focus on reducing corruption in two areas of electricity and the education sectors. The ambition in relation to criminal justice grant is to enhance the process towards state-level adoption and implementation of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, (ACJA) as a framework for transforming the criminal justice system to a much more efficient and fair one.
MacArthur named some of the beneficiaries as the CLEEN Foundation, the International Federation of Women Lawyers, (FIDA), the Nigerian Bar Association, (NBA), the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, (NIALS), Rule of Law and Empowerment Initiative. Those in the civil society category include the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development, African Centre for Media and Information Literacy, Arewa Research and Development Project, Centre for Transparency Advocacy, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, (CISLAC), Connected Development, Human and Environmental Development Agenda, Social Development Integrated Centre, Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre and the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement. The grantees cut across Abuja, Lagos, Kaduna, and Portharcourt.
Providing a general context, MacArthur puts the essence to what it calls “reducing incidences of petty or retail corruption that citizens experience everyday, addressing issues of grand corruption that reinforce a culture of corruption, strengthening the criminal justice system and building citizen demand for and confidence in anti-corruption efforts”. The Chicago based John D and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation which has been in grantmaking in Nigeria since 1989 opened its Abuja Office in 1994.