by Our Reporter
No fewer than 18 high-profile looters in different parts of the world
will be extradited soon, Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial
Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, has said. He told reporters
in Ilorin, yesterday that: “The request of President Muhammadu Buhari
in London for the extradition of alleged looters is just the beginning
of the fight against corruption in Nigeria. We are going to extradite
more Nigerians to come and face trial in Nigeria. “We will bring back
all the looters who are hiding outside this country. The fight against
corruption has just started I am telling you. It will be renewed this
year. It is going to be vigorous.”

As far as the anti-corruption crusade is concerned, the PMB government
has taken giant steps, with all seriousness to stamp out the menace from
the body polity; in the same way, corruption is frantically fighting
back, under the guise of rule of law and democratic ethos. But there
must be a concerted effort to decisively deal with corruption on all
fronts. Corruption is a persistent phenomenon in Nigeria. President
Muhammadu Buhari defined corruption as the greatest form of human right
violation. Since the creation of modern public administration in the
country, there have been cases of official misuse of funds and
resources. The rise of public administration and the discovery of oil
and natural gas are two major events seen to have led to an increase in
corrupt practices in the country. The government has aimed at containing
corruption through the enactment of laws and the enforcement of
integrity systems, but success has been slow. As at 2012, Nigeria is
estimated to have lost over $400 billion to corruption since

Corruption in Nigeria today is a hydra-headed monster that must be
properly killed and buried. In a country like China, before anybody
thinks of stealing or misappropriating public funds, they would think
twice, because the penalty for graft in China is a death sentence. China
has reduced corruption to the barest minimum, and her economic fortunes
and dynamics are looking up, this is exactly what Nigeria should emulate
at this stage in her history and development. Nigeria can ill-afford to
treat the issue of graft with kid gloves; every rent-seeking mentality
in the system must be blotted out. All forms of corruption, from
economic to political, social, and electoral in both public and private
sectors must be fought vigorously to a standstill. Nigeria cannot be an
exception to the rule, we cannot continue to celebrate corruption, and
neither can corruption continue to be an acceptable way of life to us as
a people, the best thing to do is to adhere strictly to international
best practice on corruption by having zero tolerance for graft under any
guise. And, it should not be accommodated for any reason. Corruption has
distorted a lot of things in the polity which must be corrected, at a
time; Nigeria was a pariah nation that was ostracized amongst the comity
of nations just because of the issue of graft. Therefore, the
administration of PMB should be applauded and not vilified for trying to
rid the polity of all rancid rot that stinks offensively.

Corruption is a form of dishonest or unethical conduct by a person
entrusted with a position of authority, often to acquire personal
benefits. Corruption may include many activities such as bribery and
embezzlement, use of powers by government officials for illegitimate
private gain, trading in influence; prebendalism etc. even, PMB insists
that corruption is the greatest form of human right violation.
Corruption is efforts to secure wealth or power through illegal means
private gain at public expense; or a misuse of public power for private
benefit, corruption also involves all forms of nepotism, favouritism,
conferring improper benefits on undeserving people, extortion etc,
hence, PMB has a lot to do to really sanitize the polity of all manners
of corruption, including but not limited to the public and private

Corruption wastes skills as precious time is often wasted to set up
unending committees to fight corruption. It also leads to aid forgone;
some foreign donors do not give aid to corrupt nations. It leads to
social revolution, riots and violent take-over of governments.
Corruption causes a reduction in the quality of goods and services
available to the public, as some companies cut corners to increase
profit margins. Corruption affects investment, economic growth and
government expenditure choices. Corruption discourages honest effort and
valuable economic activities, and it breeds inefficiency and nepotism.
Corruption leads to information distortion, as it cooks the books and it
also makes public policies ineffective. Corruption upsets ethnic balance
and exacerbates problems of national integration in developing
countries, corruption is destructive of governmental structures and
capacity, corruption can destroy the legitimacy of a government,
corruption is inimical to growth and development, as it fosters poverty
and suffering on the generality of the people.

There is no doubt whatsoever that PMB has an uphill task in cleansing
the Augean stables in the country, and no meaningful development can
effectively take place without ridding the polity of graft. Therefore,
he should be given all the assistance and support to clean up the mess
in the system. And, those that have erred by way of corruption should be
ready to face the music squarely. It is so doing that the country can
reinvent its lost value systems and moral ethos. It is paramount that
PMB should be more determined and unwavering in the anti-corruption war,
the war should not be one-sided, it must be all-encompassing, to include
members of his own political party, even his own inner circle of friends
and associates. This is because fighting corruption in Nigeria is like
fighting to regain the very soul of the country that has been stolen by
“professional looters and rogues”. Therefore, nothing must be spared
to accomplish this Herculean task.

The way the anti-corruption war is going, there would be more startling
revelations, that will blow our minds, but the outcome will make the
economy better and the people will benefit more and more from recovered
the loots. What PMB should now do, is to expand the scope of the
anti-corruption war, away from his personal conviction to a national
priority. It is for this reason, for instance, that he should carefully
examine and reassess the conduct of the ministers as well as all other
categories of public officials and deal with anyone found wanting.

The President lamented that, while public sector corruption was the
usual focus, the private sector’s complicity was equally significant,
such as when large multinational corporations engage in tax evasion or
transfer pricing. He added that it was the complex web of public-private
collusion and connivance that resulted in proceeds of corruption ending
up in foreign countries and especially in their financial institutions
and systems. He said: “Dismantling the conspiracies that facilitate
export of stolen assets is probably as important as the theme of this
conference, “Partnering towards Assets Recovery and Return.” “It
underscores the fact that fighting corruption is futile if we do not
ensure that the proceeds of corruption find no safe haven. “Recovering
stolen assets not only accomplishes the goal of restitution, it also
serves as a potential deterrent to future corruption. “We must insist
that recovered stolen assets be returned to the country of origin,
without any preconditions, in line with Article 51 of the United Nations
Convention against Corruption, UNCAC. “We must provide adequate
resources to investigate, adequately equip operatives, protect their
families, and protect whistleblowers and witnesses. “Let me say to you
Heads of Anti-Corruption Agencies in Commonwealth Africa that you have
found yourselves in roles that could change the destinies of your nation
if you deliver on your mandates. “You simply cannot afford to fail; on
our part as the Government of Nigeria, we are irrevocably committed to
the fight against corruption.”

Corruption is too well-entrenched and organized in Nigeria to be easily
dislodged. To this end, PMB needs both local and international support
to stop corruption and consolidate on the gains, the present
administration is already making; no doubt, PMB is on the right track
and he must be encouraged to do even more by all and sundry.

If the challenge of corruption can be effectively curtailed by PMB, then
Nigeria can take a giant step forward, towards genuine development and
having a country that we can all be proud of, the NOA has to up its ante
and be on top of its game, a situation where an elder has to financially
induce a younger person before he/she can carry out an assignment must
stop; the war against corruption should not be about PMB and his
government alone; the public should own the crusade and speak out
against corruption, and our religious leaders should also help out in
this regard, but a case whereby religious leaders openly carouse and
clandestinely flirt with those in power and seek for all kinds of
patronage; as well as benefit from the rent-seeking system, these
leaders would not have the moral authority to speak against corruption
because they have been beneficiaries of corruption. To this end, we must
all support the present administration in its efforts to truly move
Nigeria forward and we must identify enemies of progress in our midst
that must be dealt with by the law courts. Corruption will not kill
Nigeria, at least, not under the watch of PMB.

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