Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, declared in Abuja, yesterday, that the Federal Government is now focused on ending systemic corruption in its agencies, just as he called for more collaboration among government agencies and interest groups in the fight against graft.
Osinbajo said systemic corruption affects “our people the most.”
According to him, this type of corruption occurs especially where the average person interacts with government, including corruption in the issuance of contracts, licenses and other government approvals.
“There is no reason why any Nigerian should have to pay bribes to law enforcement agents for obtaining Driver’s License or passports, or to clear goods at our ports.
“All of the relevant government agencies have shown a serious commitment to eradicating these forms of corruption. Our next level is to create the environment for collaboration between our agencies, civil society and other stake holders.”
Osinbajo gave the charge at an anti-corruption summit organised by the Office of the Vice President and the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC).
He also said a new national re-orientation and attitudinal change would be required for corruption to be effectively tackled in the country.
According to him, “our struggle against corruption is one for the soul and substance of our nation. The battle must be a collective one, corruption fights back with venom, guile and force, it is relentless and unashamed, we who fight it must meet it with greater resolve and force. We can only win by working together with a common vision.”
Osinbajo noted that corruption has been Nigeria’s most devastating problem for many years and has continued to hinder her development and referred to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers’ study, which concluded that Nigeria’s 2030 Gross Domestic Product could be up to $534 billion, or more, if it reduces corruption, and also, pointed out that the country’s high revenue cannot translate to development if corruption is not checked.
“It doesn’t matter how much revenue a country makes or how transformative its plans are, corruption will ensure that majority of the people do not benefit from it or simply truncate the plan. Which is why despite the highest oil revenues in our history, debt doubled and poverty figures rose.
“It is for these reasons that President Muhammadu Buhari famously warned that if we don’t kill Corruption Corruption will kill us, which is why a major pillar of our government’s socio economic agenda is the fight against corruption.”
In his welcome address, PACAC Chairman, Prof. Itse Sagay, said the anti-corruption information and intelligence round-table organised by committee on June 1, 2016, recommended short-term and long-term approaches for the successful collaboration among anti-corruption agencies.
According to him, the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit structure would be adopted for the sharing of information and intelligence on corruption in the short-term.
He said the long-term measure would require the National Assembly passing an intelligence reform bill into law.
“This law will provide for an Inter-Agency Coordinating Group, IACG, platform for the sharing of corruption, terrorism and other serious crimes intelligence in a manner consistent with protecting Nigeria’s national security.
“In addition, the IACG platform will also establish an intelligence community driven nation criminal data base that will serve as a platform for information and intelligence sharing.”
He said the conference would be used to reaffirm the determination of the anti-corruption and security agencies to work together to clear impediments to the fight against corruption.