Corruption, greatest evil of our time, Buhari tells AU summit
President Muhammadu Buhari has in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia described corruption as one of the greatest evils of our time.
He spoke while formally launching the African Anti-Corruption Year 2018 during the Opening Ceremony of the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government.
“Corruption is indeed one of the greatest evils of our time. Corruption rewards those who do not play by the rules and also creates a system of distortion and diversion thereby destroying all efforts at constructive, just and fair governance,” he stated.
The theme of the 30th African Union (AU) Summit is “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation.”
Buhari, in a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu yesterday, thanked his African colleagues for entrusting him with such a noble responsibility.
He pledged to do his best “to ensure that the anti-corruption agenda will receive the attention it deserves and make the impact we all hope for, during 2018 and beyond.”
The President, who noted that Africa has made some significant strides in enacting legal and policy frameworks such as the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AUCPCC) to address the vice, said the desired impact had been lacking.
“Fifteen (15) years after the adoption of the AU Convention, 2018 provides a good starting point to take stock of progress made so far, assess what still needs to be done and devise new strategies to address new corruption challenges,” he said.
According to Buhari, in spite of sustained economic growth on the continent for the past two decades, “public confidence has been eroded by a focus on short-term priorities and payoffs, propelled by corruption, which too often leaves projects uncompleted and promises unfulfilled.”
The statement said he identified other negative effects of corruption as, posing a real threat to national security; eroding the development of a universal culture of good governance, democratic values, gender equality, human rights, justice and the rule of law.
In tackling bribery and corruption, the Nigerian leader said the crucial place of strong institutions cannot be over-emphasised.
“A Judiciary which stands firm against arbitrariness and injustice by the executive is a vital pillar in the anti-corruption fight. As leaders, we must build synergy between the Executive, Legislative and Judicial arms of government in order to entrench good governance, transparency and accountability.
“Strong institutions are a necessary condition in any society which aims to fight corruption. In building strong national and regional institutions, we must adequately empower our national anti-corruption agencies and insulate them from political influence. We have to encourage increased institutional collaboration between Law Enforcement Agencies and anti-corruption Agencies in order to win this fight,” he stated.
Justifying further the imperative to defeat the evil which corruption represented, Buhari said: “It is evident that Corruption has a devastating impact on marginalized communities especially the youth, women and children. Corruption breeds unequal societies, renders vulnerable groups prone to human trafficking, as well as recruitment into armed groups and militia. In effect, corruption deprives our young citizens of opportunities to develop meaningful livelihoods.”
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