Lawyer to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Wahab Shittu, also identified corruption and insecurity as dangers to the corporate existence of Nigeria.
Shittu, who was a guest speaker at a one-day conference, with the theme “Fighting Corruption and Insecurity: Way Forward,” organised by Scroll Media in Lagos, yesterday, described corruption and insecurity combined as the elephant in the room, which was threatening citizens’ freedom and security as well as the country’s national development.
He lamented that Nigeria, with its potential, particularly in the area of human and natural resources, was labelled across the world as a terrorist country and ranked among the five countries with the highest impact of terrorism.
He called on every Nigerian concerned about citizens’ living standards, businesses and careers to take the twin challenges seriously, since they threatened the country’s economy, greatness, as well as the people’s potential.
The EFCC lawyer attributed corruption in the system to a breakdown of institutions, systems, societal traditions, ethical and moral values, as well as personal behaviour, and called for the re-enactment of the core family values of hard work, integrity, honesty and discipline.
“So, if you are looking at corruption as total breakdown, the best way to tackle it is to look at the family unit, because that is the foundation of our society and because it has broken down, corruption is on the rise,” he said.
On how to combat the cankerworm, he said: “My first recommendation is adherence to best international practices. Insecurity and terrorism are not peculiar to Nigeria; they are everywhere, but we must move beyond talking to affirmative action. We must also deploy preventive and proactive measures. Some of these conflicts, which have led to insecurity and, by extension, corruption, are a result of poverty and underdevelopment. So, we must begin to address them.”
He disclosed that the absence of criminalisation and penalisation equally boosts corruption and insecurity in the country.
He said: “Most people commit crime because there are no consequences; if there were consequences, most people would probably think twice before they engage in crime.”
Shittu also identified information sharing and intelligence gathering as a very important step forward, charging Nigerians to regard themselves as anti-corruption crusaders, and to speak out against evil rather than keep silence.
Other guest speakers at the event were the former United Nations Prosecutor, Segun Jegede, Agatha Amata of the famous “Inside Out with Agatha” talk show, as well as Toun Okunwale.
They agreed that all hands must be on deck in the fight against corruption and insecurity, if Nigeria must move advance economically, as well as remove the garb of terrorism, which it ingloriously wears at present.