Long prosecution gives support to corruption ― Sen President
When prosecution of a case of corrupt practice stretches to a number of years, it is an indication that something is wrong and tacit support for corruption, Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, has observed.
He has, therefore, stressed the need for all organs of government to work together to facilitate the treatment of corruption cases with dispatch to enhance the war on the menace.
Speaking to State House correspondents after attending the 2nd National Summit on Corruption, on Monday, he also stressed the need for citizens to join in the fight against corruption, even while he dismissed the notion that the present administration’s fight against corruption has been selective.
He said: “The emphasis is to ensure that all hands are on deck. First of all, without the Legislature there wouldn’t have been the ICPC. In the fourth session of the National Assembly, the ICPC bill was passed, which was assented to by the then President, that is to tell you the level of the need and imperative for togetherness in the fight against corruption.
“When you have a judiciary that works to ensure that cases of corruption are treated with dispatch, you will agree with me that that will help in the fight against corruption.
“If a case of corrupt practice or alleged corrupt practice will last up to four, five, six or ten years or so, you’ll know that something is wrong and that is giving some kind of tacit support to the corrupt practice.
“But if there’s always dispatch in the treatment of such cases, that will expedite action by the Judiciary to give support to the fight against corruption.
“So, that I believe is the kind of togetherness that is so important, that is so necessary for us to ensure that we fight corruption at the level of governance.
“But fighting corruption also requires the support of the populace. Citizens need to be on board and one way of ensuring that citizens are on board and remain onboard is to see genuinely, sincerity and honesty in the way and manner the fight against corruption is carried out and I believe that so far this administration has done quite a lot on this.
“Some people will argue that sometimes there’s selectivity in the way and manner that the anti-corruption fight is fought. I think that is a matter of misunderstanding because when you have a set of people interested in public funds for 16 years, where do you think most of those that will be alleged to have done the wrong thing will come from?
“Certainly from that set of people and I believe that given the types of cases that were completely dispatched, we had APC or people who are supposed to be part of this administration, party or government, who are also incarcerated or prosecuted.
“So I believe that the fight against corruption by this administration has been quite open, quite non-partisan and I believe that going forward, we all the three arms of government, all the three levels of government, we need all the citizens to be part and parcel of the fight against corruption in Nigeria.”
The Senate President also dismissed insinuation that there is more corruption under the present administration than previous ones, recalling that the government campaigned on anti-corruption mantra a had followed up on it.
He explained: “I don’t know who they are and I don’t know what their facts are, but I will not speak to speculations, I speak to facts. I want to see the facts that there’s more corruption in this administration than the previous administrations.
“You’ll recall that in a particular former administration, we know that somebody once said that what people accused the government of corruption was simple stealing. This administration does not see anything that appears like corruption or thievery and leaves it untreated. So I believe it depends on who is talking.
“If you have opposition, it is likely the opposition will tell you there’s so much ‘persecution’ of the opposition, that there’s so much corruption in this administration than the previous one, but we know that previous administration…let me be a bit more decent and maybe non-political, but with I want to tell you that this administration has done so well because we campaigned on the basis of three pillars of anti-corruption, the fight against insurgency and insecurity across the country and the revitalisation of our economy.
“So, no administration or political party, in the history of Nigeria, that fought its campaigns on the basis of fighting corruption in Nigeria, in fact, there were administrations that never mentioned corruption in their entire tenure.
“This administration has stood firmly, trying to fight corruption and I want to believe that those who are saying that there’s more corruption in Nigeria today than before are simply trying to be partisan or petty.