*Magu refutes allegations of selective investigations
*Nigerians not yet fed up with corruption, says Lumumba
By James Emejo in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari, Tuesday reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to rid the country of corruption, adding that the menace constitute a gross violation of human rights.
Also, the acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim
Magu, dismissed allegations that the agency had continued to adopt a selective approach in the fight against corruption.
He said contrary to insinuations, the agency will never shield or block any corrupt official
from prosecution irrespective of his or her affiliation.
Buhari and Magu spoke in Abuja at the opening of the 49th annual conference of the Institute
of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), themed:”Building Nigeria for Sustainable Growth and Development”.
Represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha,
Buhari said government recognised the damaging impact of corruption on the economy, vowing that his administration will do all within its powers to curtail the menace.
He reinforced his administration’s commitment to finding a lasting solution to the developmental
challenges facing the country.
BuharI stressed that corruption remained the greatest enemy of his administration, adding
that “Corruption will certainly fight back, but we must continue to fight to effect a change to our value system”.
He further described the ICAN accountability index as crucial initiative which would support
the government to rid the country of corruption.
He said: “Corruption and impunity becomes widespread when accountability is disregarded.
Disrespect for accountability also strives when people get away with all manner of questionable things and accountants are unable to check them.
“I urge you now to always see corruption in its true color as a gross violation of human
rights. For the majority of our people, the millions that are in hardship, the sick, the helpless, corruption is the major reason why they cannot go to school, why we have few equipment and doctors in our hospital.”
According to the president:“Corruption diverts public resources thereby causing much suffering,
deprivation and unnecessary death in the country.
“Viewed this way, we can begin to appreciate the gravity of the destructive nature of corruption.
This should provoke us to fight it with the same zeal and doggedness we deeply deploy in the defence of fundamental human rights.
“If we do not slay corruption with the passion it deserves, we will not get the result that
we need. On our path, we will continue to provide the desired leadership and I am certain and optimistic that the glorious day we all long for will not be long in coming.”
Meanwhile, Magu insisted that the agency had never been biased in the performance of its
But a question on the luxurious lifestyle of some of its officials and the need for self
regulation of the agency was obviously not satisfactorily answered by the EFCC boss.
One of the participants had asked about the high end and luxurious vehicles at the disposal
of the agency, wondering if the agency had regulatory mechanism to check abuses and further corruption within its ranks.
Magu, however, said some of the vehicles which he estimated to cost about N150 million, were recovered from internet fraudsters, popularly called “Yahoo Boys”.
Also, a former Director of the Kenyan Anti-Corruption Agency, Prof. Patrick Lumumba, in a
keynote address, said that the reason why corruption still thrives in the country was because the people were not yet tired of the menace.
He said in a society such as Nigeria where people still celebrate those that fraudulently
enrich themselves, corruption was likely to thrive except there was a united solution to confront it head on.
According to him:“The task of nation building is a collective responsibility. If you are
an accountant, you have to do your work by ensuring that the right records are kept and that the truth is told.
“Corruption is a crime against humanity. Experiences have demonstrated that if a people in
a country are sufficiently fed up they will rise up. In Romanian, we saw that the people themselves were dissatisfied with the conduct of their party officials and they changed the attitude of the leadership.
‘If we think that the international community will solve our problems, then we have shown
that we are incapable of solving them. Sometimes, I think Nigerians and many Africans are not fed up. Because the day we are fed up, things will begin to change.
“But as long as we celebrate thieves, as long as we celebrate money no matter how they are
got, everybody will want to have the money and they don’t care about how it’s got. The day we begin to get angry, the country will change in one month.”