Can Assets Declaration Help Curb Corruption?

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Although President Muhammadu Buhari and his vice publicly declared their assets when they assumed power in 2015, some cabinet members and senior government officials in the three arms of government did not. Analysts believe the public declaration of assets by these government officials – both when taking and leaving public office – will help curb official corruption in Nigeria and prevent siphoning of commonwealth resources to foreign accounts. However, others believe potential looters will only become more creative concerning assets declaration. To you, can public declaration of assets help curb corruption in Nigeria?

ABIMBOLA AKOSILE

* I aver that public declaration of assets can help curb corruption in Nigeria. It will enormously boost public confidence in our political leaders and also aid in Nigeria’s socio-economic growth. President Buhari must make sure that his word is his bond by mandating the ministers in his cabinet to publicly declare their assets as he promised. Not doing so is also corruption. Change should truly begin with his ministers also. God bless Nigeria.

– Ambassador Saviola O. Godwyn, Abia State

* Yes, it can. Many who go into government service do not have the real mindset or aim of looting the country’s treasury. Indicted looters must therefore prove their innocence or face the law for true leadership and service. Although PMB and his Vice declared their assets publicly, many Nigerian public office holders will refuse blatantly to obey this Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) order due to their fraudulent tendencies. For instance, our ministers’ flagrant refusal to declare their assets call for deep concern amidst rampant corruption challenges nationwide. Prevalent siphoning of the common wealth resources to foreign accounts is cancerous and unacceptable. Perpetrators may thwart government efforts by manipulating the law to their selfish advantage. All we need to do now is to call a spade a spade and never bend the rules. Corruption will be stemmed or curbed. Tax evaders must be checked and brought to book urgently and without fear or favour. All culprits must be appropriately punished to deter others.

– Miss Apeji Patience Eneyeme, Badagry, Lagos

* Not as it is done presently in Nigeria, Nigerian public officials declare their assets in anticipation of what they expect to steal from the public till while in office. Assets declaration must be done effectively where the assets of the individual must be assessed before and after the individual leaves office.

– Mr. Utibe Uko, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State

* All the political appointees and elected ones should declare their assets as PMB and his Vice did; unless the politicians have negative motives not to declare their assets for them to steal tax-payers money. Nigerians and civil society groups should protest against non-declaration of assets before assuming office. The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) should not leave any stone unturned to prosecute any politician who fails to declare his or her assets for betterment of Nigeria. Politicians must abide by the law of the land irrespective of their positions in the society. Assets declaration is necessary to check fraud.

– Mrs. Ijeoma Nnorom, Lagos State

* Assets declaration is supposed to be an oath-taking or making by someone who is proud of what God has blessed that person with in his or her life. The corruption that has eaten deeply into our lives has made us to be nothing but liars. In fact, whoever you are today in Nigeria, nobody takes you seriously no matter your status, and that is even within us, not the world in general. I believe those who invented that programme have their good purpose but for bad people.

– Hon. Babale Maiungwa, U/Romi, Kaduna

* Asset declaration will not help curb corruption issues because even if discrepancies are found, our justice system is incapable of securing a conviction and no one wants that on their record. You are considered a convict, you lose the right to contest elections and trials are speedily concluded. Countries that have very little corruption use plea bargaining and it hasn’t encouraged corruption. When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evil-doers (Proverbs 21:15).
– Mr. Buga Dunj, Jos, Plateau State

* Yes, asset declaration will ensure full monitoring of all wealth acquisition processes, procedures, methodology, when, where, how, why, purpose, motive, e.t.c. and so check corruption promptly and adequately. Nigerian criminals are always one step ahead of security; therefore we must manage available information diligently, thereby acting aptly with total honesty and patriotism. Advanced climes are already doing this routinely and so avoid any fraudulent breaches of any sort therefrom. PMB has taken the lead, other citizens must take a cue or follow suit. God bless Nigeria.

– Mr. Apeji Onesi, Lagos State

* Contemporary examples are glaring that have to be investigated, as most of our leaders do project ahead, before submitting their forms in anticipating income from whatever source. Nothing will be done except proper investigations are carried out immediately on submission of completed forms, or a corrupt judge adjudicating over another corrupt judge as the case now. Just like budgeting without executing what was budgeted for, especially at the end of each financial year – virement are the syndrome, as the money will remain in the head – sub-head unspent. It is said we have not prepared our hearts to seek the law, do it, and to teach Nigerians by actions faithfully.

– Mr. Dogo Stephen, Kaduna

* In every good human relation, any good suggestion should be a way out, but in the case of Nigeria, we don’t adhere to rules and laws. If assets declaration becomes the norm, will Nigeria’s political leaders be sincere and obey it to the letter? Don’t be surprised those that work with both Code of Conduct Bureau and those in charge of assets can compromise the position; thereby aiding and abetting what they came to fight. I am afraid if assets declaration will reduce corruption in Nigeria.

– Mr. Okechukwu Ikonne, Mbaise, Imo State

* Although declaration of assets will help curb corruption among public office holders in Nigeria, the final solution is rather simpler. As being done in advanced countries, anyone with a plan to hold public office or even nominated is put under the microscope to determine if he or she is fit for purpose as a potential public official in all ways. In the process of subtle investigation of all such would-be public office holders, all their assets are researched and catalogued for future reference and any variation while the subject is declaring his or her assets is immediately spotted, with an accompanying sanction for false declaration. Public officials should be like gold fish in a clear jar of water, with no secrets or hiding place to stash looted funds. And for those ministers who refuse to heed CCB’s call, PMB should fire them promptly and hand them over for prosecution by the EFCC or the DSS. Let us be proactive in our governance process.

– Mr. Olumuyiwa Olorunsomo, Lagos State

* It actually should but Nigerians are diehards and very innovative, smart and seasoned in the business of corruption. Therefore, asset declaration is not enough to curb official corruption in our nation.

– Miss Nkeiruka Abanna, Lagos

THE RESPONSE

Yes, it can curb corruption: 5
No, it can’t curb corruption: 2
Others: 4
Radical tip: Sack offenders!
Total no of respondents: 11
Male: 8
Female: 3
Highest location: Lagos (5)

Next Week: Your Ideal New Year Devt Gift from PMB?
Aside the ongoing anti-corruption proceedings against some judges; a hopeful N7 trillion proposed 2017 budget, an upsurge in agricultural productivity, better international crude oil prices and a presidential directive to probe some top officials in the current administration, Nigerians still expect much more from President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) to actually practicalise the change he promised on assuming power in 2015. As 2017 begins in a few days, what is/are your ideal New Year gift/s from the president in a bid to ensure desired overall development?

Please make your response direct, short and simple, and state your full name, title, organisation, and location. Responses should be sent between today (December 22 & Monday, December 26) to abimbolayi@yahoo.com, greatbimbo@gmail.com, AND abimbola.akosile@thisdaylive.com. Respondents can also send a short text message to 08023117639 and/or 08188361766 and/or 08114495306. Collated responses will be published on Thursday, December 29