•Long prosecution encourages corruption –Senate President
By Egena Sunday Ode
The National Ethics and Integrity Policy “projects government’s aspiration for rediscovery of our cherished traditional ethical values of honesty, integrity, hard-work, truth and justice, unity, faith, and consideration for one another irrespective of status or background. Corruption and corruptive tendencies are abhorrent to these core ethical values,” President Muhammadu Buhari has declared.
The President said this Monday in Abuja at the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) 2nd National Summit on Diminishing Corruption and launch of the National Ethics and Integrity Policy, an event to mark the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the anti-corruption agency.
President Buhari recalled that, “as military Head of State, I fought corruption headlong and held public officers who abused their office or misused public funds to account. Furthermore, I introduced the War Against Indiscipline (WAI), one of whose cardinal objectives was promotion of our cherished culture of ethical conduct, integrity and hard work.
“I recognized in 1984 as I do even more now that corruption poses a clear danger to Nigeria, so, we cannot relent in efforts to eradicate it from our society. As I have often reminded Nigerians, ‘If we do not kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria.’”
He reiterated his belief that progress could only be achieved in the delivery of dividends for the citizenry when the arms and tiers of government work together.
“I believe that it is when the three arms and the three levels of government work together that government will be enabled to serve the country. We will also see the positive impact of our efforts reaching all and sundry across the country.”
According to the President, “bearing this critical factor in mind, I am happy that the theme of this year’s Summit by ICPC is, TOGETHER AGAINST CORRUPTION. I am aware that this theme derives from the theme of our 60th anniversary celebration. Together as a nation, as a people, the three arms and three tiers of government working together, we can attack corruption and realize the vast potentials of our country.”
He reiterated his earlier call on the judiciary to undertake reforms that will fast-rack delivery of justice for the common good.
“We need to deploy resources to address our common needs rather than the greed of a callous few. We need a corruption-free public sector to achieve this transformation; we need a judicial system that dispenses justice without undue delay and technicality.
“We need laws and legal system to be reformed to deliver justice to every citizen without regard to status and finally we need ethical re-orientation of the people to achieve this goal. When we work together against corruption we can defeat it,” Buhari said.
According to him, enlightening Nigerians on preventive measures remained the key component in fighting corruption.
“I wish to reiterate the role of preventive measures, public education and enlightenment against corruption. This government through the Open Treasury initiative, TSA, GIFMIS, BVN and many more is implementing different corruption prevention measures to track and retain government revenue for the use of the people,” the President said.
Meanwhile, the President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan has pointed out that when prosecution of a case of corrupt practice stretches to a number of years, it is an indication that something is wrong and a tacit support for corruption.
He 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 he fight against corruption, even while he dismissed the notion that the present administration’s fight against corruption has been selective.