There is a need
d for more collaboration among the anti-graft agencies and other stakeholders in the fight to curb corruption in the country, the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said.
Besides, Osinbajo also advocated for a new national re-orientation and attitudinal change for the country to prevail in the corruption fight.
He spoke yesterday at an anti-corruption summit organised by the Office of the Vice President and the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), in Abuja.
He said: “Our struggle against corruption is one for the soul and substance of our Nation.
“The battle must be a collective one, corruption fights back with venom, guile and force, it is relentless and unashamed we who fight it must meet it with greater resolve and force.
“We can only win by working together with a common vision.”
The vice president also stressed the negative impact corruption has had o the country’s development saying that it has been Nigerian formost enemy.
Osinbajo also made reference to a recent Pricewaterhouse Coopers’ study, which concluded that Nigeria’s 2030 GDP could be up to $534 billion or more if it reduces corruption, pointing out that the country’s high revenue could not translate to development if corruption is not checked.
He stressed, “It doesn’t matter how much revenue a country makes or how transformative its plans are corruption will ensure that the majority of the people do not benefit from it or simply truncate the plan.
“Which is why despite the highest oil revenues in our history debt doubled and poverty figures rose.
“It is for these reasons that President Muhammadu Buhari famously warned that if we don’t kill Corruption Corruption will kill us, which is why a major pillar of our government’s socio economic agenda is the fight against corruption.”
Osinbajo therefore explained that it was for the purpose of tackling corruption headlong that the administration set up PACAC in 2015.
He however submitted that there is still a long way to go to stem corruption in the country.
The Vice President said the policy of the administration has been to tackle grand corruption first, using various strategies.
”The enforcement of TSA, the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit, and even ensuring that most civil servants are on the IPPIS electronic platform have helped greatly to control official theft of public funds.
“The judiciary also moved the needle in recent times. The Supreme Court in a lead judgment of Akaahs JSC, recently held that forfeiture under Section 17 of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act is a civil matter which neither requires the criminal conviction of the property owner nor his innocence.
“This opens the door for forfeiture of assets that the purported owner cannot explain, whether or not an allegation of Corruption is made.”
Osinbajo said the administration was now poised to deal with the wider problem of systemic corruption, which affects “our people the most.”
According to him, this type of corruption occurs especially where the average person interacts with government, including corruption in the issuance of contracts, licenses and other government approvals.
“There is no reason why any Nigerian should have to pay bribes to law enforcement agents for obtaining drivers licenses or passports, or to clear goods at our ports.
“All of the relevant government agencies have shown a serious commitment to eradicating these forms of corruption.
“Our next level is to create the environment for collaboration between our agencies, civil society and other stake holders.”
In his address of welcome, the Chairman of PACAC, Prof. Itse Sagay, said the anti-corruption information and intelligence roundtable organised by committee on June 1, 2016, recommended short-term and long-term approaches for the successful collaboration among anti-corruption agencies.
According to him, the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU, structure would be adopted for the sharing of information and intelligence on corruption in the short-term.
He said the long-term measure would require the National Assembly passing an intelligence reform bill into law.