President Goodluck Jonathan
The Federal Government has been told to cut down waste and duplication as contained in the current budget as a measure of addressing corruption risks in governance.
Also, President Goodluck Jonathan has been urged to take a stand against corruption in its various manifestations and live by example in the fight against corruption, as a matter of national priority and continued survival of Nigeria.
The calls were contained in a communiqué issued by the Zero Corruption Coalition (ZCC), while marking the World Anti-corruption Day (Dec 9) in Abuja. It was signed by the Chair, ZCC, Mr. Auwal Ibrahim Musa, and the National Secretary, Mr. Babatunde Oluajo.
“By resolution 58/4 of October 31, 2003, the UN General Assembly designated December 9 as International Anti-Corruption Day. This decision aimed to raise people’s awareness of corruption and of the role of the United Nations Convention against Corruption in combating and preventing it.”
“The assembly urged all states and competent regional economic integration organisations to sign and ratify the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) to ensure its rapid entry into force. UNCAC is the first legally binding, international anti-corruption instrument that provides a chance to mount a global response to corruption.
“While Nigeria has since 14 Dec. 2004 ratified the UNCAC, Nigeria continues to perform miserably poor in addressing corruption. Despite the plethora of laws and institutions with anti-corruption mandates (numbering about twenty), Nigeria continues to consistently perform poorly and to feature at the bottom of practically every corruption ratings.
“While those in public offices continue to use the position of power entrusted to them for dishonest gain, the vast majority of Nigerians continue to wallow in mass poverty and impoverishment with public infrastructure in a state of collapse. Corruption on a daily basis continues to undermine democracy, creating instability and set the country back economically.
“Nigeria it appears is headed for a situation where it may be looted out of existence as a nation, with an estimated sum of N5 trillion lost to corruption in the past two years of the Jonathan presidency according to newspaper reports and over $400 billion stolen between 1960 and 1999 according to UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the sum of $250 billion stolen within a three-year span after 1999.
“Also an estimated half of Nigeria’s $40 billion annual oil revenue stolen or wasted according to Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA)- Mutual Evaluation Report Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism 2009”, it added.
“This has led to the exacerbation of mass poverty as reported by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) which reported that 69 per cent of Nigerians amounting to about 112.47 million people greater than the combined total population of seven West African countries (Ghana, Togo, Sierra Leone, Republic of Benin, Liberia, the Gambia and Cote d’Ivoire) which adds up to 67.3 million live below the poverty line of less than a dollar a day.
“The same NBS reported that between 2004 and 2010 inequality (the gap between the stupendously wealthy arising from corruption and looting of the public treasury and the hopelessly poor victims of corruption) increased by 4.1 per cent nationally”, the duo said.
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) was urged to as a matter of national interest ensure that criminal proceedings in a court of law against all those that have so far been indicated of various corrupt practices be vigorously pursued with the aim of getting convictions and by so doing address the culture of impunity that appears to have taken roots in the country and given impetus to corruption.