The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced grants totaling nearly $9 million to advance accountability and anti-corruption efforts in Nigeria.
Awarded through the foundation's On Nigeria program, the grants will support nongovernmental organizations in Nigeria working to advance criminal justice reform, combat corruption, and promote greater public-sector accountability. To that end, organizations receiving grants will collaborate with other foundation-supported partners in the country, including several focused on strengthening investigative journalism and reducing corruption in the electricity and education sectors, two critical pieces of the country's infrastructure that Nigerians report as difficult to access due to corruption.
In the area of criminal justice, the grants will support state-level adoption and implementation of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, which is designed to ensure the efficient management of criminal justice institutions, the speedy dispensation of justice, and the protection of the rights and interests of suspects, defendants, and victims. Recipients include the CLEEN Foundation, which will use the funds to create a comprehensive online repository that provides detailed information on corruption cases and helps facilitate the monitoring of and compliance with the legislation; the International Federation of Women Lawyers/Nigeria, which provides technical assistance to Nigerian states working to implement the act; the Nigerian Bar Association; and the Rule of Law and Empowerment Initiative, which will promote the implementation of ACJA in Lagos and Ondo states.
In the area of civil society, the foundation awarded grants in support of activities aimed at combating corruption, including efforts to support investigative journalism focused on government corruption. Grant recipients include the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy & Development, which works to educate civil society organizations on the government's plan for implementing the Open Government Partnership; the African Centre for Media & Information Literacy, which will work to build public awareness, support, and advocacy for new whistleblower policies in the country; the Center for Transparency Advocacy, which aims to mobilize Nigerians to embrace non-violent forms of protest against corruption; and the Shehu Musa Yar'Adua Foundation, which will establish an anti-corruption advocacy and mobilization platform focused on the education and electricity sectors.
"Addressing corruption requires action and partnership among a wide array of people and groups, including those in government, the media, civil society, communities, and consumers," said Kole Shettima, director of MacArthur's Nigeria office. "These grants will reinforce and expand the growing network of organizations partnering across disciplines to contribute to a culture of investigation, advocacy, accountability, and transparency."