#CorruptionDialogue: Nigerians are right to protest — OSIWA
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has disclosed that every arm of government is involved in the systemic and life threatening social anomaly called corruption.
Osinbajo, who spoke on Thursday at the National Dialogue on Corruption organised by the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, PACAC, asserted that the ongoing anti-corruption war in the country is close to the heart of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The number two citizen outlined ways Nigeria can tackle the endemic corruption pervading the system.
He described corruption as an existential threat to Nigeria both as a nation and as a viable economic entity.
He stressed that there is no doubt whatsoever whether every one arm of government can excuse itself, every part or arm of the society can excuse itself.
“But the truth of the matter is that we all know that corruption in Nigeria is systemic. It doesn’t matter whether it is the Executive arm of government, the Judiciary or the Legislature… Every arm of government is involved in this systemic and life threatening social anomaly called corruption. There’s no question at all. And it affects all segments of the society. It affects the religious; it affects agencies and civil society groups.
“There’s no one in our nation that can say they are not in one way or the other, not necessarily being complicit but at least under some influence or the other of some of the implications of corruption.
“So, I think we should leave the finger pointing, because the finger pointing is unhelpful. What is important is that we recognise that there is a major problem here.”
“The truth of the matter is that there is nothing peculiar about the Nigerian citizen, or the Nigerian type. Corruption thrives where it is allowed to thrive and there are many societies that have found themselves in worse circumstances than Nigeria and have somehow managed to solve their problems,” Osinbajo said.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee (PACAC) Prof. Itse Sagay accused the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) of being reckless with funds meant for development.
Sagay alleged that the commission recently bought 70 cars, including eight Super Lexus Jeeps at N78 million each and 10 Landcruisers each costing N63 million.
He said the vehicles were acquired with funds meant for the provision of water, housing, hospital, schools and infrastructure development in the Niger Delta region. Sagay spoke at the opening of a two-day national dialogue on corruption organised by PACAC in collaboration with the Office of the Vice President.
“The cars were bought with money from funds meant for infrastructure, water, housing, hospital, schools, without conscience and without a thought for the wretched people of the Niger Delta. “These huge sums were plundered from their allocations and yet the Managing Director was ironically complaining as reported by the Nation newspaper of Feb. 6, 2017 that the NDDC lacks funds to executive projects.
“The managing director also said that NDDC was in debt up to the tune of N1.2 trillion. What an irony. “The recklessness with which public officers spend public funds is insensitive to the point of insanity. The level of insensitivity has become pathological.’’
Accordingly, Sagay took a swipe at the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) saying nothing had changed since the current administration came on board in May 2015. Sagay cited an instance with the Tin Can Island in Lagos, where he said customs officials now charge fees to physically examine goods following the breakdown of the scanner.
Describing it as brazen corruption, he said there were many other instances which PACAC brought to the attention of the Comptroller General during a recent visit to him. Sagay decried public apathy to issues of corruption in the country, noting that the people’s attitude to corruption had become hardened, and that there was no longer any fear of consequence. “Now, we need to ask ourselves what the problem really is. We are definitely overwhelmed by the epidemic of kleptomania. But do we also have a collective psychiatric problem?
“Why should a person loot what he cannot spend in 10 lifetimes, thereby exposing the rest of the population to misery, hunger, poverty and wretchedness.’’
Sagay also reflected on judicial corruption, saying some judges still grant adjournments running into months in contravention of provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act. He accused lawyers of contributing to the problem by using different delay tactics thereby causing the nation great embarrassment.
The high-profile event which held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa was attended by top federal and state government officials, civil society organisations, diplomats and elites from other spheres of life.
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