Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has lamented the rate at which corruption is being celebrated within the Nigeria system and called for a collective war against it to revamp the nation’s economy.
He made the call on Monday, March 27, 2017 while speaking as the guest speaker at a 2-day National Anti-Corruption Stakeholders’ Summit organized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, at the Commission’s Academy, Karu, Abuja.
The summit, which has as its theme “Building National Anti-Corruption Consensus in a Multi-Agency Environment”, is designed to engage a host of stakeholders to brainstorm on ways of addressing pertinent national issues.
According to Oshiomhole, “the Nigerian condition cannot change by lamenting it. Our roads will never be better, our rails will not function, our airport will remain the way they are, and our schools will remain the way they are or probably get even worse, because of the level of corruption and the impact on our national development, particularly in the area of infrastructure”.
While commending the initiative of the EFCC in organizing the summit, the former governor of Edo State said, “I believe that no amount of efforts can be too much in sustaining a conversation across the country about what each and every one of us can do to deal with this question of corruption.”
The guest speaker described corruption fight as the most difficult and challenging job in Nigeria and praised Ibrahim Magu on his achievements so far as the Acting Chairman of the EFCC urging the anti-graft agency to extend its dragnet to all sectors including media houses, civil societies, and organized labor as well as every other areas of human endeavours.
He also urged the anti-graft agency not to despair as there can be no war without causalities.
“There cannot be war without casualties. Gun is not made as a symbolic weapon. You fire, and there must be casualty. If there is no casualty, it is either that something is wrong with the gun or something is wrong with the person behind the gun. So war is supposed to lead to an outcome. So how can we be fighting corruption and yet there are no victims”, Oshiomhole wondered.
While commending the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari for its determination to stamp out corruption in Nigeria, Oshiomhole called on all Nigerians to join the EFCC in the fight adding that the judiciary also has roles to play.
Earlier, Magu in his welcome address said that the summit was necessary as Nigeria was at critical phase in its evolution as a nation having identified corruption as the greatest challenge undermining its development.
According to the EFCC boss, the commitment of every Nigerian to make the difference is what is lacking and has been a major reason why corruption is entrenched in our society.
“What we have lacked in the past is the commitment to make the difference. I believe that we are uniquely placed to change the narrative as far as the fight against corruption is concerned”, Magu said.
While reaffirming the preparedness of the EFCC under his watch to lead the war against graft without fear or favour Magu said, “I am irrevocably committed to leading the young men and women of the Commission in taking the fight to the doorsteps of those who have looted the treasury and mortgaged our common patrimony. There will be no hiding places, every kobo taken illegally from the treasury would be traced, recovered and returned.”
The antigraft czar urged participants to be dispassionate in their deliberations and key into the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari which is to “kill corruption before it kills Nigeria”.
In his goodwill message, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes, Senator Chukwuka Utazi, called for unity of purpose within the security agencies. He said it was necessary for security agencies to obey court orders as the country is guided by rule of law.
“We must ensure that records are kept. We are in a society guided by rule of law. The court orders must be respected and the fight against corruption must be wagged with strategies.” Utazi said.
Speaking at the event, Chairman, House Committee on Anti-Corruption, Kayode Oladele, said that the lower and upper chambers have agreed to promote the issue of public participation in the fight against corruption.
“In the budget of EFCC, we would include the establishment of a radio and television station to create awareness especially at the grassroot”.
Oladele called for value re- orientation if we must progress as a nation. He said that there was no need of amending the laws instead, we as Nigerians must change our inner selves.
“The problem of Nigeria is not corruption but impunity. If you go everywhere in the world, corruption is a universal thing. But, in Nigeria, impunity is a problem”, he said.
Oladele also called for the strengthening of the EFCC and other anti-corruption agencies adding that, carrier progression of core staff of the agency must be taken seriously.
“We must build the capacity of the core staff of EFCC rather than populating the agency with police”, he said.
In his goodwill message, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, commended Magu, describing him as a man of integrity.
“Magu is a great man of integrity. I have known him since 1997. Magu’s EFCC seized my money, but still invited me to this summit. That shows a large heart on his part”, Ozekhome said.
He called on all anti-corruption agencies not to make the fight against corruption selective saying, “there should be no sacred cow”.
Ayuba waba, NLC President, said, “Nigeria has all it takes to arrive at a level of greatness, but the challenge is that, these resources have actually been misused. He challenged all Nigerians to key into the fight in order to have a better future for the incoming generation”.
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