Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Professor Bolaji Owasannaye, has said that despite all the good legislations to fight corruption in the country, the level of integrity amongst Nigerians is still very low.
Speaking at a two-day capacity-building workshop for members of the House of Representatives Committee on Anti-Corruption, the ICPC boss spoke about continued diversion of public funds, both in revenue receipts and expenditure, even as he condemned illicit financial flow, misapplication of funds and budget padding.
Owasannaye insisted that corruption in all its ramifications must be confronted headlong urgently, regretting that Nigerians are yet to recognise the death knell that corruption meant.
He warned that if citizens do not deal with the ethical issues of corruption, it would further impact negatively on the country.
Owasannoye emphasized that Nigerian is never in short supply of anti-corruption legislation but in short supply of integrity.
According to him, such negative attitude has been worsened by high level of hypocrisy.
He listed Central Bank of Nigeria, the Bureau of Public Procurement and the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission as some of the anti-corruption gate keepers, saying that most regulatory agencies also played anti-corruption roles.
Owasannoye observed that corruption accentuated political patronage and encouraged sabotage of governance, stressing that funds appropriated on paper, are never used for the purpose for which they are meant.
This was even as the Chairman of the House Committee on Anti-Corruption, Shehu Garba, said that the challenge and the fight against corruption has remained a topical issue.
He said that the ills of corruption has been well documented, adding that Nigerians do not need to be reminded of the consequences.
Garba said that corruption denied citizens a promising future and development, adding that it is heart-warming when the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration made the fight against corruption one of its tasks.
He said that the fight against corruption remains multi-dimensional, involving all institutions, and that there would be no success without collaboration.
The lawmaker said that information sharing and capacity building workshops are crucial in the fight against corruption.
In his contribution, Director-General, National Institute for Legislative Studies, Professor Abubakar Suleiman, commended the National Assembly for the continuous building of staff capacity.
This, he said, has reflected in the 9th assembly, especially in the way it takes the issue of the fight against corruption seriously.
He said that the workshop is important as the current Federal Government administration winds down.
Suleiman stressed that corruption also fuells instability and conflicts, adding that there has been allegations of non-payment of allowances of security operatives, which according to him, undermines the fight against insecurity. “Corruption undermines security and human capacity development.”
The Resident Representative, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, a German political foundation, Marija Peran,
decried the complex security challenges and corruption in the security sector.
She said that corruption in the security sector has a detrimental impact both on security apparatuses and on wider peace and security. Peran said the German foundation’s core mandate is to strengthen good democratic governance and the rule of law, adding that the fight against corruption is an integral part of its mandate.