Nigeria succeeding in fight against Corruption – ICPC Chairman

Aliyu Othman, Abuja

The Chairman of Nigeria’s Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offenses Commission ICPC, Mr Ekpo Nta says the fight against corruption is succeeding in the country.

Mr Nta while speaking on Voice of Nigeria’s programme In The News, said “going by the most recent assessment of Transparency International from 1999 when it rated Nigeria as second most corrupt nation in the world to the 2015 rating of 136 out of 167 nations, it was obvious that measures against graft had progressed in Nigeria.”

The ICPC chairman said: “despite the progress attained in Nigeria, the results are not as good as the country had hoped for” and called for support for government’s efforts to take the fight to all levels of governance.

 “I will say yes we are progressing but the results are still not very, very good to where Nigeria as a nation should be”, he stated.

Mr Nta said in terms of government business,the interventions introduced had reduced the level of corruption and the telecommunication and banking reforms showed significant reduction in corruption. However, with the increased insecurity in the North-east of the country, an upsurge has been observed.

 Is corruption fighting back?
The ICPC chairman said corruption is not only fighting back but those behind the corruption garb will use every means available to fight back.

Mr Nta said: “The fight back by corrupt Nigerians is a natural occurrence as is to be expected, if you think they will not fight back legally, physically and all other processes, then you are not ready for the entire process in the fight against corruption.”

 The world benefits
The Chairman of the ICPC said the most important anti-corruption posture by Nigeria was articulated and sponsored as a resolution put before and adopted by the African group.

That resolution was later endorsed by the United Nations office on Drugs and Crime Convention in St Petersburg, Russia, to ensure the repatriation of stolen funds starched in foreign
lands to Africa.

He said “there is now a resolution which backs President Muhammadu Buhari’s current drive, because if you don’t have such a resolution in place that binds internationally, the activities of those governments and a multinational resolution different from the multilateral agreement earlier used, the repatriation may be difficult.”

Mr Nta said ICPC has conducted a corruption risk assessment of seaports activities in
collaboration with the United Nations Development Program, UNDP, which yielded results that attract more ships into Nigerian waters and increased businesses.

 “We have done corruption risk assessment in collaboration with UNDP of selected sea ports in Nigeria with a lot of problems in respect of demurrage, over stayed goods etc  and a lot of progress have been made and the international community is much more interested in doing business now in Nigeria’s ports,“ he said.

 Visa scams controlled

The ICPC Chairman said interventions made to control Visa scams in Embassies and High Commissions have also helped to restore the confidence of foreign missions in

Nta said: ”I think we have achieved a lot there, I was one of the happiest persons when the British High Commission came to ICPC to thank us specifically in the aspect of visa scam, which has been reduced to a manageable level. We have done similar things with the United States, India, Mexico and the rest.”

He said these efforts and inputs have helped the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the British High Commission to change their internal processes on visa issuance.

Mr Nta advised Nigerians applying for visa to always give their correct data, including their
age and other documentations to enable them secure it in good time.

“The preventive measures adopted by the ICPC have been recognised even at the international level as I was elected a member of the Board of Governors of the International Anti-Corruption academy in Vienna, Austria, to represent Africa,”
he announced.

Merger calls misplaced
Mr Nta said the calls for a merger of ICPC with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC were misplaced, as the laws establishing the two bodies were very clear on their roles, as required under the UN convention against corruption.

 “The UN Convention requires the establishment of specialised bodies that will be independent and well-funded to fight corruption and money laundering. That is what Nigeria has done,” he said.