Combating corruption is a top priority that the United States shares with Nigeria as we continue our close cooperation with the West African nation in addressing our mutual interests through the U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission. We want to see the Nigerian government build on the momentum of the nation's free, fair and credible elections in April to bring about governance reforms that improve the lives of the Nigerian people.
Corruption in the oil-rich nation is pervasive, and remains one of the leading complaints and concerns among citizens and potential investors alike. Foreign interests often mention it as a reason for not doing business there, despite its standing as Africa's second biggest economy. Hundreds of millions of dollars are lost to the Nigerian economy in bribes, kickbacks and other illegal transactions -- monies that could be better used in power, infrastructure, education, health and other public needs.
The Nigerian Government has committed to addressing these problems, and President Goodluck Jonathan’s recent decision to change the leadership of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission underscores this commitment. The Economic and Financial Crime Commission investigates and files charges in court over corruption cases. President Jonathan recognized the importance of having a strong, independent leader in his country's main anticorruption agency and acted decisively to press the fight.
The United States looks forward to continuing its work with the Nigerian government to improve transparency and accountability, and remove impediments such as fraud and graft to the delivery of government services.