INTRODUCTION The Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, joins the rest of the world to mark the International Anti-Corruption Day. It is a day set aside all over the world by the United Nations General Assembly as a way of raising awareness of corruption and highlighting the role of the UN Convention against corruption in combating and preventing it. The UN was concerned about the seriousness of problems and threats posed by corruption to the stability and security of societies, undermining the institutions and values of democracy, ethical values and justice and jeopardizing sustainable development and Rule of Law. While the NBA identifies with the global theme for this year’s International Anti-Corruption Day, which highlights that fighting corruption is everybody`s responsibility, we are also determined and committed to the fight against corruption in Nigeria. The NBA is deeply concerned about the high level of endemic corruption in Nigeria and its devastating effects. We note that corruption is an issue that affects all countries around the world. It damages economic development, impedes the ability of developing countries like Nigeria to attract foreign investment, and undermines the growth of institutions consolidating democracy, creates unstable government, weakens institutions and affects the growth and development of countries. Indeed it is one of the biggest tragedies of mankind for the simple reason that it is still ongoing and extremely difficult to combat. Hence a day like this to address issues of corruption. Today, the issue of corruption has led to loss of confidence in Nigeria by its citizens both home and abroad due to the activities of fraudsters, corrupt public officials and bad governance by our leaders. On the international scene, Nigeria has been blacklisted as a state in which integrity and transparency are alien and where no transactions occur without greasing of palms. . It is regrettable that in spite of all the efforts against corruption Nigeria is still rated very low in the annual anti-corruption index of Transparency International. We observe that although the Federal Government of Nigeria has established Anti-Corruption Agencies, these institutions are bedeviled by certain institutional and structural constraints. In view of the fact that anti-corruption crusade is part of our public interest programme especially at the Bar and Bench, the NBA calls for urgent structural, legal and institutional reforms of the EFCC for more effectiveness and efficiency. While the NBA commends the current efforts to fight corruption, we note that the present legal and institutional framework which is in place is defective in structure and substance. To combat corruption successfully, a combination of strong legal and ethical framework and the presence of effective institutions are important for success. We further recommend that the mechanisms for investigation and prosecution against corruption must be restructured and strengthened. We note with grave concern that the current anti-corruption crusade seems to be much more focused on fighting corruption after it has occurred, but not much attention is paid to preventive measures with a view to minimizing the incidence of corruption. We strongly believe that prevention must equally be robust and effective. The current system is not sufficiently robust to prevent corruption from occurring within the public service system. We call on the Federal Government of Nigeria to initiate measures that seek to prevent corruption from occurring, in addition to the fight after corruption has occurred. Like I had already stated, the NBA is committed to the fight against corruption especially judicial corruption as it is only the existence of an independent Judiciary that can fight corruption. Judiciary has a significant role to play in the anti-corruption crusade. But for the Judiciary to fight corruption effectively and efficiently, it has to be fearless and financially and institutionally independent. This means that the independence of the Bench and Bar is key to the campaign against corruption. But when the Judiciary is underfunded and perceived to be weak, those who thrive in corruption will continue in their fraudulent acts with impunity believing that nothing will happen. We call upon the Federal Government to ensure that adequate funds are allocated to the Judiciary as it prepares to present the 2017 appropriation Bill to the National Assembly. It is expected that adequate funding will contribute to independence of the Judiciary and reduce the incidence of judicial corruption. With regards to the Bar, the Nigerian Bar association shall spare no effort in weeding out corrupt lawyers in the legal profession through diverse means including our disciplinary mechanism. We strongly believe that imposing punitive suspensions from practice and series of disbarment will serve as deterrent to potential corrupt legal practitioners some of whom may be candidates for appointment to the Bench. As I stated before the NBA will fight judicial corruption. We shall make the legal profession unattractive for corrupt lawyers. We must devise ways of identifying and flushing out bad eggs at all levels of the Bar and the Bench. The Nigerian Bar Association calls on the National Assembly and the State Houses of Assembly to utilize their immense legislative powers, not only to strengthen existing anti-Corruption Laws and Institutions, but also to consider the enactment of new anti-Corruption Laws in Nigeria that will be prevention focussed. As we celebrate the International Anti-Corruption Day today, the NBA calls on all stakeholders in the anti-corruption crusade not to forget the essence of marking the International Anti-Corruption Day. It is a day of wake up call to keep up the good fight against anti-graft. It is a day to remind us our responsibility to campaign against Corruption and to remember that the anti-graft crusade begins and ends with each of us.. Abubakar Balarabe Mahmoud, SAN President, Nigerian Bar Association December 9th, 2016.]]>