The statistics are appalling: Nigeria has the highest number of uncompleted projects in the world, according to Prof. Itse Sagay, a renowned lawyer and head of the federal government’s anti-corruption efforts. Also, it is said that around $60 to $80 billion is lost to financial flows annually in the country. More worrisome is that corruption is fighting back through judicial loopholes and eloquent defences.
According to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo at a recent forum, the illicit flow of the country’s commonwealth involves those moving the money outside the country, the destination countries, and more importantly, the facilitators of such illicit transactions, which are the financial institutions. He asserted that such flows are denying millions of Nigerians access to better livelihoods and that the practices must be checked from source and final destinations.
Osinbajo recently announced the federal government’s plans to designate some specific courts to handle corruption cases as part of judicial reforms to spur the anti-graft war. â€œWe believe that the looting of public resources that took place in the past few years has to be accounted for. Funds appropriated to build roads, railway lines, and power plants, and to equip the military, that had been stolen or diverted into private pockets, must be retrieved and the culprits brought to justice. We will not relent in our efforts to apprehend and bring corruption suspects to justice.â€
A combination of the special courts and the implementation of the Mutual Legal Assistance Bill recently passed by the National Assembly will go a long way to check corruption in Nigeria, if the political will to fight corruption is there. The evidence of looting is overwhelming, and the official response must also match the scale of theft. Anything less and corruption wins…God forbid!
– Abimbola Akosile