Hypocrisy, deceit and lack of integrity were the factors militating against the war against corruption in Nigeria, the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and related offences Commission (ICPC), Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye said yesterday in Abuja.
Presenting a keynote address at a workshop organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Anti-corruption, in collaboration with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) on the theme; “Corruption As Threat to Security In Nigeria”, Owasanoye said that Nigeria was not in short supply of anti-corruption legislations.
He said until the factors were addressed, the anti-corruption war may not be won.
He said: “We’re not in short supply of anti-corruption legislations. There are many laws that many do not recognize as anti-corruption frameworks; that are not ICPC, EFCC, or Police or NAPTIP or NDLEA.
“The Bureau of Public Procurement is an anti-corruption gatekeeper, the CBN is an anti-corruption gatekeeper, the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission, ICRC is an anti-corruption gatekeeper. I could go on, many of them like that, if you aggregate them, you would get like about 50.
“Most regulatory bodies also play anti-corruption role. Virtually, all professions are regulated and every unethical practice that is carried out by these professionals is already prohibited by their rules. So, we are not in short supply of anti-corruption institutions but what we are in short supply of is integrity. We have a generous supply of hypocrisy, and we also deceive ourselves”, he stated.
“It is very important that we understand that unless we confront these issues, we are going to continue to struggle, dealing with corruption, adding that corruption erodes the capacity of state to provide for the welfare of the people, and it reflects in different ways.
“Corruption is an existential issue for us as a country, and so, we need to have conversation around it. There is a problem I have with the ethical understanding that we share as a community, and I say this because it appears that some of the things that are killing us, some people do not recognize them as such, especially people who really do not want to know”.
In his remarks, Chairman of the House Committee on Corruption, Hon. Shehu Garba who lauded the President Muhammadu Buhari led government for making the anti-corruption war one of its cardinal objectives however said the fight couldn’t be won without a collaboration.
“It was heartwarming when this administration made the fight against corruption one of its cardinal pillars when it came on board, but we cannot succeed without collaboration”, he said.
Also speaking, the Director-General, National Institute for Legislative Studies, NILDS, Professor Abubakar Suleiman who commended the National Assembly for the regular building of staff capacity, the 9th assembly by its posture took the fight against corruption seriously.
For him, the allegations of non-payment of allowances of security operatives undermined the fight against insecurity.
“Corruption undermines security and human capacity development,’’ he said.
In her welcome remarks, the country representative of Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, KAS Marija Peran said corruption “adds fuel to the tensions and further add to instability and conflicts.”
Similarly, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, represented by Maj. Gen. Adekunle Adesope, said said the consequence of corruption were multidimensional, advising that “all of us must therefore enlist as soldiers against corruption.”
Declaring the workshop open earlier, the speaker of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, represented by Deputy Majority Leader, Hon. Peter Akpatason said laws made by the national assembly had ensured public resources were protected.
“It is the responsibility of the legislature to make laws, design systems and ensure processes that protect public resources against misappropriation, mismanagement and other malfeasance”, he said.