From Okwe Obi, Abuja
Global Integrity Crusade Network (GICN), an, NGO, has pledged to support the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in its fight against corruption in Nigeria.
GICN Chairman Board of Trustees and President Barr Edward Ejembi Omaga said in a statement that corruption has prevented the country from advancing despite its abundant human and natural resources.
Omaga said that the situation had pushed bright minds into online fraud and other criminal activities just to make ends meet, adding that the organisation’s support would address the problem.
The statement read:
‘It is no news that corruption is the single greatest obstacle preventing Nigeria from achieving its enormous potentials. Since independence, Nigeria has been grappling with the issue of massive corruption that is threatening its corporate existence.
‘Billions of dollars are being drained yearly from the Nigerian economy, a development that is stifling the country’s development and weakening the social contract between the government and its people.
‘Perennially, Nigeria has continued to rank in the bottom quartile of Transparency International Corruption Perception Index despite the anti-corruption campaign declared by President Muhammadu Buhari since 2015 when he assumed office as the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria.
‘According to the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index Report released in 2020, Nigeria ranks the 4th most corrupt country in West Africa and 149 most corrupt country in the world out of 180 other countries.
‘From advance fee fraud to complicated money laundering scheme, straight-up embezzlement, tax evasion, contract fraud, pocketing the salaries of nonexistent workers, steering plum jobs to relatives and friends to petty bribery, it is certainly one crime too many.
‘Even Nigerians view the country as one of the world’s most corrupt as they struggle daily to cope with the effects. This does not augur well with the image and reputation of a country that prides itself as the Giant of Africa.
‘The recent alarming dimensions of corruption in the country calls for urgent and proactive actions by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other stakeholders to end the menace in the country.
‘It is quite disheartening to note that more Nigerian youths are becoming involved in cybercrimes. Advance fee fraud, ‘Yahoo Yahoo’ (scam), has fast become a growing illicit business among our youths, no thanks to the high unemployment rate.
‘This ugly trend no doubt spells doom for the future of young Nigerians especially our cherished young boys and girls who are the leaders of tomorrow.
‘While concerted efforts are being put in place by government and development partners for economic recovery in the wake of the COVID-19, the wave of corruption in our country is counterproductive.
‘When corruption is allowed to fester in a country, it becomes not only inimical but retrogressive to the country’s developmental stride.
‘GICN as a pro-democracy and anti-corruption Civil Society Organization calls on government at all levels to collaborate with the EFCC to completely root out the hydra-headed disease known as ‘corruption’ at every level in Nigeria.
‘While we commend the efforts of the EFCC and other security agencies in the ongoing anti-corruption war, we want to state emphatically that, there is an urgent need for collective and concerted efforts of all stakeholders, the security, corporate organizations, individuals, Non-Governmental Organisations, Civil Society Organizations to achieve greater success in the fight.
‘The EFCC and security agencies cannot do it all alone. Therefore, as an anti-corruption organization that stands for integrity, justice and equity, transparency and responsibility, we pledge our support.
‘In line with some of our objectives which include, to advocate for integrity, justice, probity and transparency in public offices as well as work with relevant stakeholders to support the fight against corruption and economic sabotage in Nigeria, Africa and the world at large, we are willing to work EFCC and other anti-corruption agencies for purposes of achieving a corruption-free Nigeria.
‘We are highly optimistic that with the coming on board last month of the new EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, the agency will further step up the fight against corruption for the restoration of sanity to our dear country.’