The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has commenced training for cadet officers ahead of their graduation from the Nigerian Defence Academy(NDA) in Kaduna State.
The training is part of efforts by the commission to expose and equip the officers with modern skills in the fight against corruption.
Addressing the cadets during their training at the NDA old parade ground, EFCC Chairman, Mr Ibrahim Magu, said that the rising corruption cases in the country necessitated the training.
Magu, who was represented by the Commandant of EFCC Academy, Professor Ladi Hamalai, explained that officers need to be adequately exposed and equipped with modern investigation and prosecution skills that will enable them discharge their duties effectively.
“Are you mentally prepared to repair some of the wrongs of the society? Are you prepared to fight corruption? Corruption is stronger than a strong army, do you know that?
“Are you strong enough to fight it? If I ask whether you are strong enough to fight corruption, the next thing is that do you have the will to fight corruption? Somebody can call you, bribe you and say, please leave this alone. Do you take the bribe?
“If somebody threatens to kill you if you don’t stop this, what should you do? So can the nation rely on you?” she asked.
Responding, the participants chorused in affirmative that the nation can rely on them in the fight against corruption.
“Rule of law, human rights, and democracy are the founding principles of EU and its constituent treaties. These principles are central to the continual agreement which binds EU member states and countries from Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific,” he said.
Cornelius added that the rule of law and anti-corruption are a prerequisite for stability, economic development and poverty reduction, hence the need to support it.
Other experts at the meeting are of the opinion that the initiative will promote good governance through accountability and transparency.
The American Government has called on religious leaders in Nigeria to pay close attention to the critical challenge of combating corruption.
The U.S. restated its commitment to helping Nigeria eradicate corruption in all sectors of the country.
The U.S. Special Representative to Muslim Communities, Shaarik Zafar, made the call on Monday at a press conference in Kano State, northwest Nigeria.
“Religious leaders speak a common language with their communities and have incomparable access, unique network and respect that would enhance the common fight against corruption and promote accountability,” he pointed out.
The U.S. envoy further highlighted that the use of religious leaders to fight corruption was not a last resort, but perhaps a more thoughtful resolve to promoting economic growth and opportunity.
He added that the resolve would also help maintain peace and security while protecting the fundamental human rights of Nigerians.
Mr Zafar observed that most Muslim communities around the world were faced with numerous crisis ranging from war and conflict, violent extremism and sectarianism as well as poverty and lack of educational opportunities.
He said although the US had a global mandate to discourage corruption, they hope to fight corruption with the help of Nigerians.
Nigerian youths have been advised to support President Muhammadu Buhari’s fight against corruption at all levels and put aside all political, religious and ethnic differences.
Governor Rochas Okorocha made the call at the inauguration of Imo State chapter of the Youths Assembly of Nigeria (YAN) in Owerri the state capital in southeast Nigeria.
The Governor, through his Chief of Staff, Mr Uche Nwosu, said that the anti-corruption war by the Buhari led administration was a positive move and a step in the right direction to recapture Nigeria from the hands of those who were hell-bent on truncating and mortgaging the future of the youths.
He observed that the youths had obviously been neglected by previous governments over the years and had been sidelined in the scheme of things.
Okorocha advised them to see themselves as partners in rebuilding Nigeria while he urged them to always guard against actions and utterances that were capable of derailing the visions of the present government.
The Governor believes that the Buhari led administration mean well for the youths and the entire nation.
He called for patience and perseverance even in the face of the present economic challenges, expressing optimism that Nigeria would come out stronger and better.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved a presidential initiative on continuous audit, to strengthen controls of Federal government expenditures.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, made the decision known on Wednesday while briefing reporters on the outcome of the FEC meeting held in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
Mrs Adeosun said that the initiative would not just strengthen the internal audit of the payroll but general expenditures, which may include among others, contracts and pensions of Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) without notice.
She revealed that the government had commenced the second phase of the payroll of another potential 11,000 ghost workers.
This the Minister said was sequel to the first phase of the payroll audit which revealed the existence of 23,000 ghosts workers, which saved the country about 2.29 billion Naira.
A member of the the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Adetokunbo Pearse, has recommended that Nigeria should invent structures that will fight corruption proficiently rather than going after individuals.
While assessing the corruption fight on Sunrise Daily on Thursday, the senior lecturer in the Department of English, University of Lagos, said that ”Nigeria needs structures that are deterrent.
“What we need to do is to restructure, find structures that can actually fight corruption, not go after individuals. For instance, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is a structure in place, there are others that are fighting corruption.
“What we need now, we know that EFCC can do its job and is having problems (everybody is saying this is abusing people’s civil rights) because of the way they are going about it,” he said.
Adopt Better Ways
The PDP member condemned the alleged arms fund diversion but maintained that the Federal Government could have adopted better techniques to achieve its aim.
“Any fair minded Nigerian would applaud the effort to curb corruption and secondly, when you hear that money that should have been spent on the military is being used to fund elections is very disturbing. The way the President is going about it, I think, is very faulty and we need to comment on that so that maybe we can adopt better ways and achieve much more.
“The President seems obsessed with this fight of corruption to the detriment of development in other areas. Bad as what Colonel Sambo Dasuki has done and much as this money ($2.1 billion) appears, it will not cripple the Nigerian economy of six trillion Naira. Let us put that in perspective so that we do not spend so much time talking about one thing as if that is going to solve all our problems,” he said.
Change The Laws And Abide By The Law
Mr Pearse was also of the opinion that the war against corruption cannot be won without legislation, adding that the laws should be changed to prevent looting of the nation’s resources.
“When the Director of IMF came, one of the suggestions she made is what I have always advocated and that is that we cannot fight corruption or do anything without legislation. Without proper structures, it is a waste of time because I tell you, after Dasuki, there will be more and more.
“We need to change the laws and abide by the law. I am talking about before people get to the position where they can begin to loot, there must be ways to screen them out,” he said.
The academic maintained that Nigeria should concentrate on developing systems to fight corruption and let the systems work themselves, stressing that some other political office holders ought not to be in such positions.
“There are a lot of people in the National Assembly, there are a lot of people who are governors and there are people who have even become presidents as well who have no right to be in public services because they have a criminal background. They have a shady background and yet we are not addressing these issues, we are talking about fighting one person or two.
He also said Nigeria should be focused on developing systems that will work instead of headlining Dasuki everyday in the media.
Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, says he did not receive $300,000 or any monetary compensation from the Jonathan Presidency or any of its officials, in the aftermath of an attack on his convoy.
The President’s comment was contained in a statement on Tuesday by his spokesman, Femi Adesina.
It was made in response to reports he had the money and five armoured SUVs from the Office of the National Security Adviser in the aftermath of the attack that occurred on July 23, 2014.
‘Prevailed Upon To Accept’
The statement read: “We unequivocally deny that President Buhari While it is true that one armoured SUV and one untreated SUV were sent to the President in the aftermath of the attack, the vehicles were in keeping with his entitlements as a former Head of State under the Remuneration of Former Presidents and Heads of State (And other Ancillary Matters) Decree of 1999.
“Section 3, Sub Section 1 of that Decree provides that three vehicles will be provided for former heads of state and replaced every four years.
“There was therefore nothing untoward, illegal or tending to corruption in former Head of State Buhari and Presidential aspirant, as he then was, receiving vehicles, to which he was statutorily entitled , from the Federal Government of Nigeria”.
Mr Adesina pointed out that “President Buhari had in keeping with his austere, spartan and frugal disposition shunned most of his entitlements as a former Head of State, but was prevailed upon by his supporters to accept the two vehicles for his personal safety in the aftermath of the dastardly attempt to assassinate him”.
He said that it was preposterous to think that the President would allow his acclaimed reputation of honesty and incorruptibility to be tarnished by accepting a questionable monetary compensation from a discredited regime.
The Senior Special Adviser to President Jonathan on public affairs has described Nigeria’s ranking as the 35th most corrupt country in the world as an improvement against when the country was ranked second on the list, just a few years ago.
Dr Okupe, made this assertion on our breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, where he admitted that it is very unfortunate that corruption is in Nigeria but decried Transparency International’s failure to reckon with the progress made with the nation’s fight against corruption.
“Transparency International started the measurement of the perception index in year 2000 and in year 2000, Nigeria was second to the last….We were 180 out of 181 countries and this continued for about 5 or 6 years.”
“Now the position we are holding now is something we should be proud of, but you know it is not that we have not made any progress at all. In 2000 we were second to the last and today we are 35th as we have a President and government that is doing something, corruption is an endemic issue and the government is doing everything to combat and i have given many examples”
The President’s spokesperson decried what he claimed has an attitude in Nigerians whereby “what we are glad to talk about is the wrong things that happens to the country and we all revel in it.”
“I have said it and I am here to say it for the umpteenth time that there is more than enough evidence that there is corruption in Nigeria. I am not denying that there is no corruption in the country, it is unfortunate, it is sad, you know and I am also not disputing Transparency International’s rating.”
“If a country is extremely very corrupt, you have perception about something that has been sustained for so long and when changes begin to take place it takes time for you to notice it or to recognise it” he said as he lamented that Transparency International is not quick to update their data to reflect the tremendous progress in the fight against corruption in Nigeria by the present administration.
Okupe said it was the Jonathan administration that unearthed the corruption in the oil and gas industry, the pension fund and so the administration has not been overwhelmed by the corruption fight.
Meanwhile, another guest on the programme, Mr Gbenga Omolayole,a member of the Initiative for Democratic and Economic Advancement Strategy, reacted swiftly to Okupe’s comments making a nonsense of his analysis saying that “the politician is trying to do his job very well but he’s got a very difficult job on his hands”.
Omolayole said several prominent Nigerians are undergoing corruption cases in different courts in Nigeria and they are at the same time being appointed as party leaders all over the country and to him that doesn’t make any sense.
Contrary to the Federal Government’s position on winning the fight against corruption, Nigeria has been ranked the 35th most corrupt country in the world, according to the 2012 report by Transparency International on global corruption.
In the report released today, Nigeria scored 27 out of a maximum 100 marks to clinch the 139th position out of the 176 countries surveyed for the report. It shared that position with Azerbaijan, Kenya, Nepal and Pakistan while Countries such as Togo, Mali, Niger and Benin fared better than Nigeria.
Last year’s report placed Nigeria 143rd, making it the 37th most corrupt country. However, when compared with this year’s result, it is difficult to say whether Nigeria has recorded any significant improvement.
According to the report, this year’s index ranks 176 countries/territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption. The index draws on 13 surveys covering expert assessments and surveys of business people.
The Corruption Perceptions Index is the leading indicator of public sector corruption, offering a yearly snapshot of the relative degree of the corruption problem by ranking countries from all over the globe.
The organization has urged governments to integrate anti-corruption actions into all aspects of decision-making and prioritize better rules on political financing, make public spending and contracting more transparent, and make public bodies more accountable.