FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA AS A COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY, AS NIGERIA JOINS THE REST OF THE WORLD TO MARK INTERNATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION DAY
Corruption according to Transparency International (TI) the global anti-graft watchdog is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain
Corruption no doubt is a monstrous cankerworm that have eaten deep into the fabric of our national lives, manifesting in educational, health, transport sectors etc even the religious bodies are not excluded from the vices either.
The adverse effect of corruption in our dear country cannot be over-emphasized. As a matter of fact many Nigerians have been sent to their early graves due to the pandemic corruption. In corruption lies the core of Nigeria’s national conflicts, which manifest as poor leadership, bad roads, collapsed infrastructures and extreme poverty in the midst of immense oil wealth, militancy, kidnapping, terrorism lack of electricity, woeful healthcare administration and poor education.
It was in realization of the devastating effect of corruption which is a global phenomenon and the danger it portends, that the General Assembly of the United Nations by its resolution 58/4 of 31st October, 2003 at its Headquarters in New York set aside 9th December of every year as International Anti-Corruption Day in order to raise awareness about corruption menace and the role of the United Nations Convention against Corruption.
The Convention read in parts:
The United Nations is: “Concerned about the seriousness of problems and threats posed by corruption to the stability and security of societies, undermining the institutions and values of democracy, ethical values and justice and jeopardizing sustainable development and the rule of law”
“Promote and strengthen measures to prevent and combat corruption more efficiently and effectively… promote, facilitate and support international cooperation and technical assistance in the prevention of and fight against corruption …and promote integrity, accountability and proper management of public affairs and public property…”
On this day worldwide, various activities lined up to mark the day include:
Musicals and plays to publicize the message of fighting against corruption.
Essay competitions on corruption
Keynote speeches by people who are victims of corruption or those who are in the fore front of leading the fight against the menace and;
The dissemination of posters, flyers and other corruption enlightenment and education materials.
Meanwhile, Nigeria is amongst the 140 nation that signed the Convention document on the 9th December, 2003 while she ratified it on 14th December, 2004 respectively.
The fight against corruption in Nigeria under the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari who is locally and internationally acclaimed as a man of integrity is legendary and fantastically commendable, the President never left anyone in doubt about his commitment in fighting the monster when he opined that “We must kill corruption before corruption kill Nigeria”
True to his word, the crusade against corruption is achieving unprecedented results as all loopholes where public money are brazenly looted by greedy public officials have been blocked through the now rejuvenated Treasury Single Account (TSA), Bank Verification Number (BVN) as well as the fortification of anti-graft agencies to tackle the monster head on.
The ongoing trial of Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) and very recently alleged corrupt judicial officers is unprecedented and is a pointer that Mr.President meant business and this crusade is not a fluke or business as usual.
Furthermore, It is not yet uhuru, because when you fight corruption, corruption fights back, it behooves on all Nigerians to join hands with President Muhammudu Buhari and the anti-graft agencies in the country to break the corruption chain.
The media as the fourth estate of the realm must continue to hold leaders accountable to the citizens by exposing every act of corruption through in-depth investigative journalism.
Civil Societies Organization must serve as whistle blowers in unearthing and reporting every forms of corruption to the anti-graft agencies.
On the part of the Judiciary, it should handle corruption cases with dispatch and met out adequate sanctions to anyone found guilty of corruption charges.
Religious leaders must imbibe in their adherents sound moral values and play less emphasizes on prosperity sermon because without the cross, there will be no crown and hard work pays.
Traditional rulers and higher institutions of learning’s should desist from giving/conferring chieftaincy titles and honourary doctorate degrees on people of questionable characters.
This is calling on members of the National Assembly to amend any lacuna or impediment in the ICPC and EFCC Acts to make them more proactive. The lawmakers should equally take their oversight function with all the seriousness it deserves in the coming year as it will go a long way in reducing incidences of corruption from our system.
Citizens should take advantage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act by demanding for accountability.
It is also pertinent that government set up Tribunal or Special Anti Corruption Court from the regular courts to handle corruption cases as the delay in our courts nowadays owing to frequent adjournment does not augur well for the fight against corruption. Justice delayed, they say; is justice denied.
At this juncture, the ICPC, EFCC, Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal, NEITI, Fiscal Responsibility Commission, Bureau of Public Procurement etc. must be commended for their relentless efforts at combating corruption, financial crimes and other related offences through investigation and prosecution of corrupt Nigerians since their establishment. More importantly, for embarking on vigorous public enlightenment and education advocacies through seminars and workshops across Nigeria which are aimed at educating the public on and against bribery, corruption, financial crimes as well as fostering public support in combating the menace.
Nevertheless, there is room for improvement, and as we step into year 2018 with hope, all anti-graft agencies should redouble their efforts for the onerous task of eradicating corruption from our nation.
There should be synergy between anti-graft agencies and other law enforcement agencies in the country as virtually all of them are working towards making Nigeria a better place for us all and generations yet unborn, because the success of one is the success of all, and the failure of one is invariably the failure of all.
Kudos to international agencies such as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Justice For All (J4ALL), European Union (EU) etc for their unflinching support in the area of capacity building, advocacy and general support in the fight against corruption and like Oliver Twist they should do more.
On the part of government, ICPC, Code of Conduct Bureau and EFCC should get their funding through the first line charge to guarantee its true independence.
With the dwindling oil revenue and the attendants austerity measures been put in place by government, the fight against corruption must be step up so as to checkmate the looting of our scarce resources.
All hands must be on deck to ensure that corruption which is the bane of our development is eradicated totally, or reduced to the barest minimum. Then, life will be meaningful. Sanity would have been restored in our political, socio-economic life as a nation, resulting in sustainable development which is the hallmark of democracy. The achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (MDGs) as well as actualizing the Change Agenda of the present administration.
As Nigeria joins the rest of the world today to commemorate the International Anti-Corruption Day with the theme “UNITED AGAINST CORRUPTION FOR DEVELOPMENT, PEACE AND SECURITY” this is calling on all Nigerians irrespective of religion, ethnic or political affiliations to rise up for the love of country and collectively support President Buhari and anti-corruption agencies in the fight against corruption by removing all impediments that breeds the vice.
Say “NO” to Corruption as our “NO” indeed “COUNTS” Corruption Must Go!
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!