T HAT corruption is the biggest problem facing the country is not in doubt, but how to go about tackling this evil is what Nigerians don’t really understand. Our anti-corruption agencies have tried their best, but we still keep discovering everyday those who had mismanaged the country’s wealth while they held political offices.
In my own opinion, the immunity from prosecution which our political office holders enjoy is one of the reasons corruption is thriving in Nigeria.
I believe when we remove the immunity of these political office holders, then they will be extra cautious in administering the public funds placed in their care.
However, since they know that they can’t be prosecuted while in power, they won’t care on the need to be prudent with the public funds at their disposal.
Therefore, if we can get the immunity clause removed, we should also come up with a system that will reward whistle-blowers whose leads are genuine.
It is not easy for law enforcement agencies to trace financial crimes without ‘inside’ support. Consequently, this is why it is necessary to create a reward system for whistle-blowers who give genuine and accurate information that can lead to the prosecution of suspects.
Finally, there is the need for our judiciary to set time frames for hearing corruption cases. Hearing corruption cases involving former political office holders in the normal courts will not make us achieve anything in our anti-corruption drive.
We have seen how those who had stolen from the state use such funds to hire the most experienced lawyers to defend them, and in the process of prosecution, the defence lawyers keep working towards prolonging the case until it collapses.
This is why Nigerians should support President Muhammadu Buhari in his bid towards establishing special courts for corrupt political office holders. We need to dispense justice as soon as possible so as to deter others who are coming into political office.
So, the anti-corruption war is not one that the government can fight alone. Nigerians must first fight for the immunity clause to be removed, and then whistle-blowers should be encouraged.
- Nugwa James,