The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) in its reaction to the EFCC Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu’s statement that corruption is Nigeria’s greatest problem, has called on the two main anti-graft agencies, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to be more total and pragmatic in its fight against corruption to root the ogre of corruption completely out of the country.
In a statement released by the Media and Publications Officer, Odofin Toyin, on behalf of the Executive Chairman of CACOL, Debo Adeniran stated, “We would recollect the speech delivered on behalf of the EFCC Acting Chairman last week Thursday at the commencement of 2019 African Union Anti-Corruption Day Road Walk, in Lagos, whereby he clearly underpinned Nigeria’s nay Africa’s perennial underdevelopment, backwardness and the resultant instability and insecurity to corruption. In as much as we clearly align with the anti-graft agency’s tsar in his conclusion that corruption was solely responsible for the country’s angst over social upheavals, economic frustration borne out of chronic unemployment, lack of social infrastructure, etc., as monies meant to provide all these facilities and set the country on a path of progress and development are willfully syphoned and expropriated by those put at the helms of power.
“It is in the realization of the unimaginable damage and social destruction that grand corruption could cause that some countries like China and Pakistan have deemed it fit to introduce death penalty against official corruption for any of its government official to serve as a worthy deterrent. This has, no doubt, discouraged grand corruption even if it has not succeeded in totalling eliminating it. Though we may not fully subscribe to the death penalty as a human rights’ anti-corruption organization for its obvious violation to citizens’ rights’ to life, the main issue is that the law against corruption must be seen to be effective against all known violators, no matter how highly placed the culprits are. This is where we think the current government’s fight against corruption must be reviewed towards better effectiveness to make any tangible impact.
“The fight against official heist under the President Muhammadu Buhari’s government has been just same way of its predecessors since 1999 in terms of scope and width of operations and too discriminatory to achieve the ultimate goal of dissuading our officeholders from their seeming pathological attachment to corruptive acts. This is without any prejudice to the courage and greater resolve so far shown by this government in tackling the menace like the Single Treasury Account (TSA), Whistleblower policy, etc., which are no doubt, very bold and unprecedented steps towards stemming the tide of corruption.”
The CACOL boss added, “However, as good as all these measures sound, they amount to little or nothing if in prosecuting this historical fight, some government officials are still seen to be ‘untouchables’. The likes of Obono Obla, erstwhile Chairman of the Special Investigation Panel on the Recovery of Public Property who was alleged to have falsified his West African Secondary School Leaving Certificate, WASSCE, and Mallam Danjuma Goje, former governor of Gombe state who was under trial for multiple looting of his state but was asked to step down from contesting for the seat of Senate President as a ‘swap’ for official pardon for looting his state dry. It is our firm belief that corruption finds a haven under such discriminatory and selective atmosphere. This is why we have always advocated that for the fight against corruption to make desired impact and achieve our collective aim, the two main anti-graft agencies, the ICPC and EFCC must be completely insulated and divorced from any official control and manipulations, latent or crystal clear. Anything short of this could only be tantamount to psychedelic hibernation, no matter how well-intentioned the government seems to be.”