Nigerian Government Tasked On Sanctioning Corrupt Public Servants
Nigerian leaders have been asked to reel out the appropriate sanctions to those who engage in corrupt practices if the country is to make progress in its anti-graft campaign.
Participants at the third Nigerian Governors’ Forum taking place in Lagos, Nigeria’s south-west region, emphasised that sanctioning corrupt public servants would make others desist from such acts.
A professor of international law, Professor Akin Oyebode, says the entire Nigeria populace must join in the anti-graft fight.
“Once there is general agreement regarding what can be considered unacceptable conduct, it will be a short step towards proscribing stiff and severe penalty for whoever breaks the “‘eleventh commandment’.
“As we all know, our God decreed 10 commandments to humanity, but the eleventh is the most important commandment, ‘thou shall not be found out’. If people get away with corrupt practices they can now pontificate in a sanctimonious manner about propriety in the society. But what we have lacked, in my view, is the sense of punishment and what has thrived is the notion of impunity.
He pointed out that it was not corruption that is as much the problem as the failure of the society to punish those who have been found corrupt.
The former chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, Justice Musthapha Akanbi, tasked politicians on ensuring that they give priority to the fight against corruption.
Justice Akanbi said that all efforts must be backed by a commitment from the leadership, adding that the people must at all times be part of the struggle to fight corruption.
The Lagos state governor, Babatunde Fashola, also emphasised the need for Nigerians to join in the fight against corruption by discouraging extravagant life style and imbibe the right values.
He said that such practice would help reduce corruption in Nigeria.
“I have very serious doubt whether it is possible to prevent corruption. When you look globally I don’t know any nation that has dismantled her systems – the police the courts – because they have prevented corruption.
My perspective therefore is about reducing the incidence of corruption. When we reward people for work not done, we grant national honour to people who have demonstrated no honour. I can be in one part of the country doing something totally unconnected with what is happening in my state and I become a permanent secretary, without being at work and 20 billion dollars suddenly gets missing, then the police who should be the one in charge of securing all these actually have their own pockets picked because their own pension is stolen? And all seems to just be well. I cannot contemplate what will happen next.
“It is a question now of values. A society where people spray money and step on money, I think that that is a mind-set that raises question. If you can step on your own sweat, something is wrong,” the Lagos State Governor said.
A re-examining of the value system, he said, is key to solving the problem of corruption in Nigeria.