Report blames secrecy of information for corruption in security agencies
A new report by the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) has revealed the non-disclosure of classified information by security agencies is responsible for corruption in the sector.
The centre’s Chief Executive Officer, Seember Nyager disclosed this at a press briefing in Abuja.
She said although there may be a need to withhold the disclosure of some categories of information in the interest of national security, withholding information on procurement of stationeries was not necessary.
The report stated that public access to procurement information among 14 security agencies showed that there was a very low level of compliance.
She added that this slow provision of procurement details to the public was partly responsible for corruption in the system.
According to her, the level of discretion within the security sector has led to a high risk of corruption, with billions of naira purportedly being stolen.
She expressed concern that each time citizens’ groups request information from any of the sectors, the response had always been that the “disclosure of such information would affect national security.”
On the $2.1billion arms scandal, the report noted that the non-requirement of due process and public accountability mechanism in the sector created the enabling environment for the alleged fraud.
She said if there were clear and enforceable rules on public accountability, the alleged fraud could not have been done under “the purchase of special goods.”
She quoted a media report that N4.62trillion had been budgeted for national security between 2011 and 2015.
She added that out of the amount, about N4.1trillion went into recurrent expenditure while N556billion went into capital expenditure.
The report further stated that the most heinous crimes against the state and the people were the result of the overwhelming secret practices.
It added that the freedom of information’s compliance rankings carried out in 2014-2015 showed that the security agencies were the least likely to respond to request for information.
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