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Soyinka, CSOs urge vigorous intervention in corruption fight

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Soyinka

• EFCC, ICPC vow decisive action against graft
• ActionAid proposes death penalty for looters as agency indicts Imo lawmakers

Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has insisted that the fight against corruption in Nigeria will only be won if Nigerians and other voices against graft are allowed to express their views freely.

Soyinka stated this yesterday in Abuja at the anti-corruption summit, organised by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in collaboration with Nigeria Shippers’ Council (NSC) in commemoration of this year’s International Anti-Corruption Day.

He said, “There is the imperative of the open society if we are serious about fighting corruption and the necessity to involve the younger generation.

Soyinka, who said that a former Anthony General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Bola Ige was killed by the forces of corruption, wondered why the Police were yet to come up with reports of their investigation.

Also, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the Inter-Agency Task Team (IATT) yesterday mobilised thousands of Nigerians to the streets of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja to demand an end to corruption, especially in the nation’s public sector.

The protest was held on the sidelines of this year’s United Nations (UN) International Anti-Corruption Day and championed by IATT, a coordinating forum of agencies with anti-corruption and accountability mandates in Nigeria.

The IATT, which organised the demonstration in collaboration with CSOs under the Say No Campaign, urged more vigorous action against graft, stressing that current interventions on curbing corruption were yet to yield the desired results.

Job racketeering, tax evasion, money laundering and other illicit flows diverting resources from schools, hospitals and essential infrastructure were the major focus of the protest, in which the groups lamented that funds that would have been deployed to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) end up in private pockets.

Speaking, UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, who was represented by Country Representative, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Oliver Stolpe said, “Trillions of dollars, an equivalent of over five per cent of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) are paid in bribes or stolen through corrupt practices that undermine the rule of law and aid crimes such as trafficking of persons, drugs and arms.

Convener of Say No Campaign, Ezenwa Nwagwu, stated that there was the need to unite against corruption, adding that unless citizens rise against the menace, the development may persist.

Executive Director, UNODC, Yury Fedotov also advocated the creation of conditions necessary to effectively combat poverty and inequalities that stem from graft if the fight against corruption must be won.

Insisting that the fight against corruption should not be left to government alone, Chairman of The House On Anti-Corruption, Shehu Garba said: “The fight against corruption must continue”.

On his part, Director of Documentation, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Dr Davidson Aminu, added that there was the need for people to join forces with the government to fight corruption.

Besides, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has urged Nigerians to have zero tolerance for corruption, which it said had truncated the nation’s development.

Acting Executive Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, who spoke at the anti-corruption walk to commemorate this year’s World Anti-corruption Day, said the fight against graft required individual and collective resolve to foster attitudinal change.

“Nigerians need a change of attitude to shun the temptation of acquiring illicit wealth and embrace values that promote accountability and transparency at all levels as a major panacea to corruption in the country,” he said.

Also, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), has vowed to fight corruption decisively with a degree of ruthlessness permissible under the nation’s laws.

Chairman of ICPC, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye stated this in Lokoja yesterday at the International Anti-Corruption Day 2019 organised by ICPC in collaboration with the Participation Initiative for Behavioral Change in Development (PIBCID) and other CSOs in Kogi State.

Relatedly, the ICPC has alleged that most lawmakers at the National and State Assembly from Imo State were corrupt.

It claimed that a large percentage of the constituency projects carried out by the lawmakers in the state for the past eight years had no contract agreements just as they lacked proper documentation.

Meanwhile, ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) has advocated death sentence for public officers who are found guilty of corruption, just as human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, described corruption as a crime against humanity.

Its Country Director, Ene Obi, said in Abuja at the Anti-Corruption Rally tagged, United Against Corruption, My Constituency, My Project, that those found guilty of corruption charges should be publicly shamed and branded thieves.


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