Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo says corruption is a fatal scourge that has to be fought by all, to pave way for more development.
He is therefore calling on all organs of government and citizens to join hands with President Muhammadu Buhari, who has exhibited the will to fight corruption.
The Vice President was speaking in Abuja, at the opening of a National Conference on ‘The Role of the Legislature in the Fight against Corruption’.
Declaring the conference open on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Vice President commended the National Assembly for working in collaboration with the Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption and the United Nations Office on drugs and Crime UNODC, to support government’s fight against corruption.
“The National Assembly, Presidential advisory Committee against Corruption and the UNODC deserve to be commended for this farsighted initiative, despite the wide spread cynicism about the capacity of the political class to fight corruption, I am glad that we have found the will to open up a public discourse on this all important subject,” he said.
Crime Against Humanity
Professor Osinbajo described acts of corruption as committing a crime against humanity, and said the conference now affords the country an opportunity to develop a unique approach to the fight against corruption.
“Corruption is ultimately a fatal scourge giving the fact that in many countries including ours, corruption is largely responsible for the abject poverty of the majority in our society. Indeed such a conference on corruption can in my view have only one objective; to explore a consensus on how to free our nation and its most crucial institutions from the ravages of corruption,” the Vice President stated.
He expressed the hope that the consensus to be reached at the conference will help sustain development and a better society.
The former Head of Kenya’s Anti Corruption Agency, Professor Patrick Lumumba, who delivered the keynote address, noted that corruption deserves serious attention at all times, because it has undermined development in Africa because it is dignified thus celebrating the wrong people that have personalised public wealth.
“The problem of the fight against corruption in Africa is not the shortage of legislation. The problem is that we have created an environment that ensures that our men and women who engage in graft occupy positions of power and influence. It is the culture that we have evolved over the years in Africa of celebrating ill-gotten wealth,” he said.
Professor Lumumba however praised Botswana, Rwanda and Mauritius, as African countries that have excelled in the fight against corruption.
Senate President, Bukaola Saraki that was present at the conference, said the fight against corruption has been a major policy thrust of successive administrations and it must be well rooted now, in order to move the country forward.
He commended President Buhari for showing the political will to fight corruption, as he pledged the support of the legislature in curbing corruption, as the executive arm of government cannot fight the menace alone.
The Senate President stressed that “corruption can be prevented by strengthening the country’s institutions, collaboration between the three arms of government, addressing democratic bottlenecks and application of sanctions.”
Also, the speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, said the steps taken by the National Assembly like organising the conference on anti corruption clearly shows its will to fight corruption.
Dogara called on all other organs of government to keep collaborating with the legislators to extinguish corruption, as he pledged that the House of Representatives will adopt the resolutions that will be reached at the end of the conference.
There were goodwill messages from the European Union Ambassador and the French Ambassador to Nigeria, at the two day conference, which ends on Wednesday October 19.