FORMER president, Court of Appeal of Nigeria, Justice Issa Ayo Salami, has raised the alarm over the current level of corruption in the country, saying that the country is heading for a doom if it fails in its continued fight against corruption and corrupt people.
This is just as the Auditor General for the federation, Anthony Ayine, said that corruption, a global phenomenon, was becoming endemic in Nigeria, as an estimated $2.6 trillion was stolen through corruption every year, according to the United Nations.
In his keynote message at the national conference and annual general meeting of the Committee of Heads of Internal Audit Departments/Units in Nigerian Universities (CHIADINU) at Kwara State University (KWASU), Malete on Tuesday, Justice Salami emphasized that Nigeria was at a threshold of monumental disaster if drastic measures were not taken to “avoid the holocaust” that corruption could bring.
Justice Salami, who said that government and individuals should promote a culture of high regard for the dignity of labour and integrity, said that sense of integrity was gradually being eroded from professionalism.
“One’s job and integrity are inseparable and should not be separated because the moment professionalism is compromised, it (the profession) becomes in most cases, ineffective. May I ask which of the professions is being practised in Nigeria with due integrity? Certainly, there’s none. I want to say at the risk of repetition but for the purpose of emphasis, that Nigeria is heading for doom if it fails to drastically deal with the chronic disease of lack of integrity in the practice of the professions. To my mind, all are practised with impunity and damning consequences.
“All virtues such courage, truthfulness, dutifulness, hard work, brilliance, skillfulness, productivity, and competence are universal principles anywhere all over the world. In the same vein, their opposites such as stealing, idleness, falsehood, laziness, betrayal of trust, smart practices, incompetence and recklessness stand condemnable anywhere in the world. Nigeria cannot be an exception.
“I appeal to you to value your names as you do your jobs more than anything else and consider what history, not what people, would say about you before taking any action. Do not be carried away by the fact that our system is porous and so your misdemeanour may not be easily or readily uncovered. Remember that a day would come when what is hidden will be unearthed,” he said.
Also delivering a paper on Fight Against Corruption: The role of internal auditors, the Auditor General for the Federation, Anthony Ayine, said that corruption is a major governance challenge in Nigeria.
Ayine, who said that corruption, a global phenomenon, was becoming endemic in Nigeria, added that an estimated $2.6 trillion was stolen through corruption every year- a sum equivalent to more than five per cent of the Global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to the United Nations.
“The effects of corruption on the socioeconomic and political system of the country and the attendant poverty and misery it imposes on the citizenry have been so depressing over the years. This prompted the establishment of institutions like the ICPC, EFCC, code of conduct bureau, bureau of public procurement and others.
“It is, however, my strong belief that if the audit function had been operating efficiently and effectively there would not have been for all these additional anti-corruption agencies,” he said.