New Telegraph

Sanwo-Olu, Reps Seek Increased Fight Against Corruption

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and the House of Representatives have expressed concern over the prolonged corruption fight in the country.

Speaking at a two-day National Anti-corruption Colloquium, organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Anti-corruption in Lagos, the Governor lamented that the anti-corruption units in the various federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have failed in the responsibilities to prevent corruption in the country.

Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by the Deputy Governor of state, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, said: “As we all know the issue of corruption has been a long-standing discourse.

“There are certain fundamentals that we must all agree on, and the first one is that there is a need for value reorientation. The second is that we must all agree on what is wrong and what is good.

“There should be a concerted effort against the menace of corruption. As a people, we must find means to actually deal with this issue. Corruption is an English word and that means it exists in other English-speaking countries.”

On his part, Chairman of the House Committee on Anti-Corruption, Prince Kayode Akiolu, said corruption was a huge burden that could hinder national development, stressing that history has shown that no country could develop without eliminating graft.

Akiolu said Nigeria has failed to reach its potential due to dishonest practices, stressing that the various agencies created to fight corruption should be rejigged and reactivated for optimal performance.

He said: “There can be no doubt that corruption is a huge burden on the neck of any nation. And, history shows that it is only nations that successfully shake off this massive load that can march to a dawn of real growth and development.

“That is what we need to do to transition from being merely potentially great to a higher level of genuine greatness. Make no mistake about it: Nigeria is a great country and is widely acknowledged as such the world over.

“It is the biggest economy in Africa and the largest market on the continent. It is also the most populous black nation on earth and is blessed with world-class human capital and a superabundance of natural resources.

“The country has also provided exemplary leadership in the comity of nations. However, the painful truth remains that, considering our enormous potential, we have underachieved and underperformed.

“In the countless interactions, I have had with fellow citizens in Nigeria and beyond our shores over the years, what I find remarkable is that everybody agrees that the dysfunctions we find in our society are all symptoms of corruption.

“What seems to be lacking is the common desire to pull in the same direction: anti-corruption. But this has to change. All hands must be on deck to eliminate corruption in our society or reduce it to the barest minimum so that our country can finally deliver on its enormous potential to the benefit of its citizens.

The Federal Government has been setting the pace as expected. It set up anti-corruption units in various federal ministries, departments and agencies with a mandate to check corruption in their domains.

“Regrettably, these units have not been working as they should. It is hoped that they will be rejigged and reactivated for optimal performance. That is one of the aims of this event.

“There is no argument on what must be done for Nigeria to thrive. We need to bring corruption to its knees so that our country can rise to its full height to deliver on its incredible promise.

“We need to remove the tackles of corruption from the feet of our beloved country so that it will no longer have to limp slowly and painfully towards the Nigeria of our dreams.”

The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Justice John Terhemba, said there is every need to work assiduously towards strengthening compliance and accountability, especially in the public sector.

Justice Terhemba, who was represented by Justice Olayinka Faji, said: “Foremost is a determined reorientation of the citizenry, with special emphasis on inculcating patriotism. Most of the maladies that exist stem from a lack of patriotism.

“Enactment of clear and comprehensive legislations that outline acceptable public sector conduct and strengthen anti-corruption measures. We need to equip law enforcement agencies with the resources and expertise to investigate complex corruption cases.

“There is a need to provide continuous training for Judges and court staff in handling corruption cases, promoting consistency, and building specialised expertise. Also promoting public education and awareness campaigns on citizens’ rights and responsibilities regarding corruption.

“I wish to state that building a robust compliance and accountability framework is a shared responsibility. Through a collaboration between the law enforcement agencies, the legislature, the judiciary and the public, we can create a public sector that is transparent, accountable, and truly serves the needs of the people.”

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