By Lukman Olabiyi
PROMINENT Nigerians including a member of the Nigeria Inter-
Religious Council (NIREC) and Pope of Aladura Communion Worldwide (ACW), Rev. Rufus Okikiola Ositelu, have called for the merger of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti-graft agencies, to make war against corruption effective.
Others who spoke in support of the call for the merger of EFCC with others anti-graft agencies such as the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) were the chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), South-West zone, Atilade Magnus Adeyemi, and Prof. Sat Obiyan, Head of Department, Political Science, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State.
They made the call at the 5th Rufus Okikiola Ositelu Foundation (ROOF) lecture with the theme: “Fighting Corruption in Nigeria: A Mirage or Reality” held in Lagos.
According to the speakers, it was necessary that all anti-corruption agencies be restructured and properly geared to support Federal Government’s resolve to rid the country of corruption.
Ositelu and others stated that Nigerians needed to support the present administration with all their hearts, minds and souls to fight corruption to a standstill. Ositelu also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to beam his light on the judiciary for the success of anti-corruption war.
The clergy man criticised the judiciary for its role in many court verdicts on corruption cases, including the cases of Michael Igbinedion, Cecilia Ibru and James Ibori, which he noted had eroded the hope and confidence of Nigerian masses, noting that the judiciary and anti-graft agencies must help to deter corruption.
“Building a democratic and constitutional country should not be hinged on a strong individual with integrity alone, but on strong and credible institutions.
“The Federal Government has to strengthen and adequately fund anti-corruption agencies, including the judiciary. Looters of public treasury must be denied the benefit of permanently enjoying their ill-gotten wealth. All their properties and monies should be confiscated and they must serve jail terms as a deterrent to those contemplating on following their footsteps,” Ositelu said.
Prof. Obiyan, who was the guest lecturer on the occasion, said the fight against corruption required the existence of an effective countervailing force, plus checks and balances at every centre of power.