By Anayo Ezugwu
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has reaffirmed the determination of his administration to fight corruption in the country. He says that corruption poses a clear danger to Nigeria and that his administration will not relent in its efforts to eradicate it from society.
Speaking at the second national summit of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC, on Monday, September 28, Buhari said his administration through the Open Treasury initiative, Treasury Single Account, TSA, Bank Verification Number, BVN, and many more was implementing different corruption prevention measures to track and retain government revenue for the use of the people. He reiterated the role of preventive measures and public education and enlightenment against corruption.
“As military Head of State, I fought corruption headlong and held public officers, who abused their office or misused public funds to account. Furthermore, I introduced the War Against Indiscipline (WAI), one of whose cardinal objectives was promotion of our cherished culture of ethical conduct, integrity and hard work. I recognized in 1984 as I do even more now, that corruption poses a clear danger to Nigeria, so, we cannot relent in efforts to eradicate it from our society. As I have often reminded Nigerians, ‘If we do not kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria.’
“In my inaugural speech in 2015, I affirmed the determination of this administration to rebuild and reform the public service to become more effective and serviceable. I charged public servants to apply themselves with integrity to stabilize the system and solicited the cooperation of the legislative arm to maintain their brief of making laws and carrying out oversight functions. In the same speech, I called for the reform of the judicial system and for the judiciary to act with dispatch in cases, especially cases on corruption, serious financial crimes and abuse of office.
“I believe that it is when the three arms and the three levels of government work together that government will be enabled to serve the country. We will also see the positive impact of our efforts reaching all and sundry across the country. Bearing this critical factor in mind, I am happy that the theme of this year’s Summit by ICPC is Together Against Corruption. I am aware that this theme derives from the theme of our 60th anniversary celebration. Together as a nation, as a people, the three arms and three tiers of government working together, we can attack corruption and realize the vast potential of our country.
“I said in my speech at the 2018 NBA Annual General Conference, that one of the challenges we face in delivering the expectations of our citizens is how to transform our society from one in which impunity in the management of national resources is the norm to one in which a culture of accountability and transparency prevails. We need to deploy resources to address our common needs rather than the greed of a callous few. We need a corruption-free public sector to achieve this transformation; we need a judicial system that dispenses justice without undue delay and technicality.
“We need laws and legal system to be reformed to deliver justice to every citizen without regard to status and finally we need ethical re-orientation of the people to achieve this goal. When we work together against corruption we can defeat it,” he said.
President Buhari commended the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the ICPC for organizing the summit and including in the programme an opportunity for the three arms of government to indicate their roles in meeting the aspiration of Nigerians to have a corruption-free society. He also commended the ICPC for using the opportunity to launch a book to commemorate its 20th anniversary.
“I commend the ICPC for its enforcement and prevention measures, including system review of capital and personnel budget, regular analysis of the open treasury platform, enforcement action against diversion and mismanagement of public funds, working with FIRS to increase the number of companies and persons within the tax net, tracking of constituency project budget utilization for the benefit of ordinary Nigerians and its monitoring of implementation of budget by the Executive in key sectors like Agriculture sector.
The ICPC System Studies and Review, Ethics and Integrity Compliance Scorecard of MDAs are excellent preventive measures for detection of early warning signs of vulnerability of MDAs to corruption and a way of assisting government take note of MDAs that are prone to corruption and deserve closer scrutiny of government and law enforcement agencies. I note that ICPC is documenting its work, achievements and recommendations to government. I am happy to present the book marking its 20th anniversary titled ICPC AND THE WAR AGAINST CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA: REFLECTIONS FOR A NEW VISION and six other publications, including the Nigeria Corruption Index; Constituency and Executive Projects Tracking Initiative Interim Report 2020; the Ethics and Integrity Compliance Scorecard of MDAs 2020; Accountability for Security Votes; and Eradicating Electoral Corruption and Vote Buying.
“I am also happy to recognize winners of ICPC Youth Music and Essay Competitions on promotion of anti-corruption values. The music and essay competitions organized by ICPC show the true character and grit of Nigerian youths,” he said.
– Sept. 28, 2020 @ 15:29 GMT |