* Magu refutes allegations of selective investigations Text Box:*Nigerians not yet fed up with corruption, says Lumumba
James Emejo in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to rid the country of corruption, adding that the menace constitute a gross violation of human rights.
This coming as the acting Chairman, Economic and Finance Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, also 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 party 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”.
Buhari who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, said the federal government recognised the damaging impact of corruption on the economy, and vowed that his administration will do all within the 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 a 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 colour 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 causes 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 difference 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.”
On his part, Magu insisted that the agency had never been biased in the performance of its duties.
However, the EFCC boss could not provide an answer to a question on the luxurious lifestyle of some of its officials and the need for self-regulation of the agency.
One of the participants had asked about the luxurious vehicles at the disposal of the agency, wondering if the agency had regulatory mechanism to check abuses and further corruption within its ranks.
But Magu, in a rather weak response, said some of the vehicles whose costs he estimated at 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 are 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 like to thrive except there is a united solution to confront it head on.