Corruption war far from being won in Nigeria — Group

NIGERIA still has a lot to do to reduce the rate of corruption in the polity because the steps that have so far been taken to fight the depravity, especially among the ruling class, have not yielded the desired results.

This was contained in a statement on Wednesday by the Muslim Media Watch Group of Nigeria (MMWG) in commemoration of this year’s International Anti-Corruption Day.

The International Anti-Corruption Day was declared by the United Nations Convention on 31st October 2003 to create public awareness about the ills of corruption.

The MMWG, in the statement signed by its national coordinator, Alhaji Abdullahi Ibrahim, said there was the need for President Muhammadu Buhari to renew his anti-corruption fight so as to gain renewed confidence from the people in his effort to rebuild the nation’s economy.

According to the group, the war against corruption is far from being won as there are still signs that indicate the presence of “institutionalised corruption.”

The MMWG cited some provisions in the constitution which it claimed promote corruption.

It listed such provisions to include one that allows state Houses of Assembly to approve “humongous retirement packages for governors and their deputies without corresponding provision for the National Assembly to approve same for the president and the vice president.”

The group stated that “such a ridiculous provision ought to have found its way out of the nation’s constitution long ago.”

It also labeled severance packages for political officeholders in the executive and legislature as “the highest level of corruption,” stating that “such packages promote corruption, materialism, greediness and godfatherism, thereby serving as clogs in the wheel of progress on the revival of the nation’s economy.”

It added: “Civil servants and judiciary officers that are given gratuities must have served for 35 or 40 years. How come political officeholders of four or eight years take humongous pays? This is not only ridiculous but it should be seen as a crime.

“Security votes will continue to serve as stimulus for corruption as it is not audited or accounted for. All these give discredited people the opportunity to find their way to political offices. They have given rise to non-performance of governments and have increased the poverty level among the Nigerian people.

“The MMWG maintains that corruption will continue to wax strong if this institutionalised corruption is not removed.”

The group called on President Buhari to propose necessary amendments to the constitution and policies that have made nonsense of the country’s anti-graft fight.

It said unless his administration took practical and legal steps to abrogate offensive provisions and policies as well as waste of public funds on public officeholders, corruption would continue to be a problem in the country.

It said the president should also investigate some officials of some anti-corruption agencies that have been accused of receiving bribe to cover up cases of economic crime.

“This is dangerous. As long as this group of people is being bought over, minimal success would be achieved in the anti-corruption fight,” the group stressed.

It commended President Buhari for the ongoing trial of people fingered in corruption cases, saying this would convince public officeholders that anti-corruption fight in the country was real.

“MMWG believes that non-performance of all governments in Nigeria is due to endemic corruption and that President Buhari, anti-graft agencies and the judiciary must save Nigeria from this monster for the country to move forward,” it added.

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