James Ojo, Abuja and Desmond Mgboh, Kano
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has challenged Nigerians to take ownership of the fight against corruption for a better society.
Acting chairman of the commission, Ibrahim Magu, made the charge yesterday, during this year’s African Anti-corruption Day, which was marked with a road walk in Abuja and other major cities across the country.
Addressing the participants, Magu said this year’s event was unique, coming against the backdrop of the African Union’s (AU) declaration of 2018 as the ‘African Year of Combating Corruption’, with the theme, “Wining the fight against corruption: A sustainable path to Africa’s transformation.”
More significant, he added, was the designation of President Muhammadu Buhari as Africa’s Anti-Corruption Champion. He stressed the need for unity to eliminate corruption, so as not to jeopardise economic growth and prosperity.
“The cause and effects of corruption are very clear to everyone. It has been identified as one of the major factors responsible for the current state of the economy”, he said. The EFCC boss urged Nigerians, and, indeed, youths to see corruption fight as a priority, which everyone must be involved.
He blamed corruption for the country’s inability to transform its rich natural and human resources into prosperity, and called for collaboration of all stakeholders in taming the malaise.
At the event, Executive Secretary of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Anthony Ojukwu, said: “Nigeria is taking the lead in the fight against corruption in Africa because of the tremendous work EFCC is doing.”
He commended the EFCC for the good work and called on the anti-graft agency not to relent in its efforts to rid Nigeria of corruption. While calling on all to join the anti-corruption crusade, the NHRC noted that, “human right is the great casualty of corruption.”
Also, President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, lauded the Commission’s achievements, so far, and pledged support of Nigerian workers to efforts geared towards wiping out corruption in the country.
Wabba said that Nigerians have suffered in the hands of looters and it has become imperative, for everyone to join in the fight, as that is the only way the war can be won.
He wondered how a few individuals can borrow N5.4trillion and refuse to pay back, stressing that; it is high time Nigerians started to form alliance against the corrupt elements looting our common patrimony.
“We cannot continue to watch our country drift into intolerable poverty. It is time to act because corruption is a threat to our survival as a nation,” said Wabba.
Also, the anti-corruption agency, has been tasked to commence legal proceedings against Nigeria’s former head of states and presidents, starting from President Ibrahim Babangida for their alleged involvement in multi- billion Dollars worth of corrupt practices during their tenure.
National Chairman, Movement for Justice in Nigeria (MOJIM), Alhaji Abdulkarim Daiyabu, made the call in Kano, while addressing participants during an anti-corruption walk, organized by the EFCC to mark the World’s Anti-Corruption Day.
He insisted that the commission could not overlook the fact that the past Nigerian leaders have undischarged charges of corruption to their names, while insisting that like the rest of Nigerians, they should also be made to face the law in the light of charges against them.
He recalled the Okigbo’s Report’s on missing oil money, the depletion of foreign reserves during the administration of General Abdulsalam Abubakar, the N16 billion invested in power during the Obasanjo’s tenure and the diversion of oil dollars during the Jonathan’s administration as publicized by the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Alhaji Sanusi Lamido, among others.
He also tasked the commission to go after key officers, past and present of the present Buhari administration such as the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation and many others, who have been accused of corruption but are yet to be charged.