Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay have enjoined Nigerians to participate fully in the fight against corruption for the overall good of the country.
The duo observed that the Federal Government cannot succeed in the anti-graft war without the collaboration of the masses.
They both spoke at the public launch of an anti-corruption App kno, 'Flag It' by the Akin Fadeyi Foundation in collaboration with the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) at the Musa Yar'Adua Centre Abuja.
The Vice President represented by the Special Adviser to the President on Rule of Law, Office of the Vice-President, Fatima Waziri-Azi, noted that there should be robust partnership between the state and the society for the war against corruption to be won.
According to him, 'this collaboration goes to support the already established fact that government cannot do it alone. It has to be a partnership between states and society. We can only win by working with a common vision. Most importantly, the FLAG'IT App aligns with the government's commitment to fighting corruption because it keys into the national anti-corruption strategy'.
He continued that, 'the national anti-corruption strategy prioritizes public recognition of organizations and individuals who act against corruption and identifies the need for an independent public feedback mechanism which we can use to give feedback about government, private sector, civil society organizations and individuals and this is where the FLAG'IT app comes in to fill in that gap'.
Lamenting the scope of corruption in Africa at large, Osinbajo stressed that, 'now to provide a little bit of context; the 2019 Global Corruption Barometer on African citizens' views and experiences of corruption highlights that while most of the people surveyed in 35 countries felt that corruption had increased in their country, a majority equally felt that they as citizens could make a difference in the fight against corruption. Only few countries in the world can claim to have low levels of corruption and none of these countries are in Africa.
'There is a consensus that corruption and illicit financial flows out of Africa relentlessly delay the attainment of the development goals, worsens practically all Human Development Indices and trap the majority of her people especially the most vulnerable in a trap of misery and poverty. It doesn't matter how much revenue a country generates or how transformed it is or progressive its plans are. Corruption will ensure that the majority of the people do not benefit from whatever gains are made which is why despite the highest oil revenues in our history, debt doubled and poverty figures rose; which is why a major pillar of this administration's social economic agenda is the fight against corruption.
We are living in a new age and time and everywhere we turn, new opportunities are being created and innovative people are creating new technologies to solve problems more rapidly. This administration recognizes the important role technology and innovation plays in any society and that is why it is committed to supporting technology/entrepreneurship ecosystems.
'As you are all already aware, the Federal Government is establishing technology innovation hubs across the country. Two super hubs- one in Lagos and one in Abuja - and six regional hubs in the six geopolitical zones of the country in partnership with several major technology companies; the hubs will be fully resourced with infrastructure and capacity building tools. Each hub is designed to produce relevant innovative technology solutions to a wide range of businesses, commercial and government problems'.
On his part, Sagay in his keynote address with the theme; 'the fight against corruption: a collective responsibility, pointed out that 'fighting corruption without the involvement of the people and the civil society organizations is like trying to control flood and erosion with palm tree fences'.
According to him, 'the corrupt people do not live in another planet; they do not have different physiologies and other physical characteristics that differentiate them from the rest of the society- they are simply part of the society and in many instances, they are more clever than the rest of the society'.
He further observed that, 'corruption is a formidable enemy of progress and in reality, it can be said to have much of its roots in the society because virtually nothing moves in our society without one form of corruption or the other, ranging from petty to grand corruption -looting of natural resources like petroleum products, bunkering, etc; judicial corruption; all types of anti-people and retrogressive policies, destruction and looting of public assets and systems such as health, education, and others. Because of corruption, people are compelled to pay for services that should be free, or pay extra for services that already have a cost.
'Corruption hurts economies, people, and governments; hence, there is the need to involve everybody in the fight against all forms of corruption in our society. Incidentally, there cannot be a better time to join in the fight against corruption than now when the political economy continues to produce overnight billionaires and reactionary leaders by the day'.
Corps Marshal, Boboye Oyeyemi, in his speech stated that corruption has been endemic in the Nigerian system 'before the advent of the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration in 2015'.
He disclosed that the FRSC under his watch has keyed in fully into the anti-corruption war by punishing officers found culpable of corrupt practices.
According to him, 'activities of fraudsters and corrupt government officials and mis-governance have led to loss of confidence in Nigeria by citizens at home and abroad. Nigeria is widely viewed as a country where no transaction occurs with integrity. Although the ICPC and the EFCC are established to combat corruption at various levels, the efforts of these agencies be appreciated for sustainability'.
He continued that 'the FRSC is one of the organizations in Nigeria with zero tolerance for corrupt practices by Staff. From January this year we have terminated the appointment of 72 personnel, while 52 are under trial and the next board meeting will confirm the disengagement of another 42'.
The founder of the NGO, Akin Fadeyi, in his welcome read on his behalf by Simon Kolawole, said that the App was designed to enable the opening up of government institutions to embrace transparency and accountability and to empower Nigerians in documenting their encounters with corruption.
© Pakistan Press International, source Asianet-Pakistan