Buhari Advocates Strong Judiciary For Effective War Against Graft
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja observed that the fight against corruption can only be effectively tackled if there was a serious overhaul of the country’s legal system.
Speaking in a keynote address at this year’s Anyiam Osigwe Foundation Memorial Lecture at the International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja, Buhari said dealing with corruption requires the collective will of every Nigerian.
“We in the leadership will provide the right example. We will not pay mere lip service to corruption. We will eschew it in every aspect of our lives. However, we are but few, in a country of more than 170 million people. We need the mass army of Nigerians to rise as one man, and stand for probity in both public and private lives. It is only then that we can be sure of dealing a mortal blow on corruption, which will engender a better country,” he said.
Buhari said Nigeria had been brought almost to her knees by decades of corruption and mismanagement of the public treasury, saying: “We must come to a point when we all collectively say Enough! That is collective will, and that is what will bring us to a new state and status. If this country will realize her potentials and take her rightful place in the comity of nations, we must collectively repudiate corruption, and fight it to a standstill. It remains eternally true: if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria.”
But the President warned that the fight against requires stronger judicial reforms with a view to blocking loopholes that allow corrupt persons to escape justice, noting the judicatory had been unable to effectively prosecute persons.
According to him, “in Nigeria, it needs be said that two problems stare us in the face. First is that our laws need to be strengthened if we must realistically contend with the miasma of corruption. The second is that we must correct the gaps in our legal system that are exploited to frustrate the process of justice. A number of anti-corruption cases have been rendered inconclusive due to legal limitations.”
He said the theme of this year’s lecture, ‘Incorruptibility: A Spiritual Premise for Material Wellbeing’ fitted surely into his vision for a corrupt- free Nigeria, noting that the theme accounted for his presence at the lecture.
Buhari said: “The topic of discourse at this session, which is on corruption, significantly ties into my vision for our great country, Nigeria, that we must kill corruption before corruption will kill us. My being here to deliver the keynote address at today’s session is instructive on the resolve of this government to interface with initiatives that are fundamentally patriotic and assisting in our path to socio-economic and political recovery.”
He said in the course of campaigns for the last general elections, “in the midst of a number of issues upon which we campaigned as a party, the one that gained higher currency in the psyche of our people was that Nigerians needed leadership that could be relied upon to tackle the orgy of corruption in the country.”
“It is to be noted that resolving the problem of corruption transcends merely arresting and trying people that have held public office. This is because, to curtail corruption, we have to reorder the mindset of all. Empirical facts have shown that even those who are critics today are most times not better than those they criticise. When they are availed the same or similar opportunities, they act likewise.