As the world marks the 2022 Anti-corruption Day, the National Association of Seadogs, popularly known as Pyrates Confraternity, has challenged governments at all levels to strengthen and extend the fight against corruption in the country.
It said this had become imperative to take the fight against corruption to the nooks and crannies of Nigeria with a view to checkmating its prevalence and endemic incidence in the society to ultimately rid the country of this social malaise.
Capoon of the Katamaran Deck comprising Ijebu and Remo lands with secretariat in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, Mr Olumide Fagbohunka, stated this in commemoration of the 2022 Anti-corruption Day.
He said the fight against corruption should not be left to the Federal Government alone, urging state governments to establish their own anti-graft agencies to fight the menace at both the state and local government levels so that the incidence of corruption at both the state and grassroots levels would be reduced to the barest minimum.
Fagbohunka said the hydra-headed problem of corruption has eaten very deep into the fabric of the Nigerian society that exorcising its ghost from our body politic had become a herculean task.
He noted that corruption negatively affects all facets of life in Nigeria, adding that drastic measures must be taken urgently before the problem would kill our society.
According to him, corruption “hinders the development of economy, which affects the short and long-term goals of development plans.
It results in wasting of the state’s resources, which prevents their optimal use.
It also results in Shutting out local and foreign investments due to the lack of incentives. It
impaires the just distribution of resources, weakening the economy, and increasing the gap between the rich and the poor.
It weakens the state’s income due to customs smuggling and tax/fees evasion by means of fraud and manipulation.
It leads to misuse of public expenditure in large projects, which prevents key sectors (such as health, education, and public services) from benefiting from these resources.
It hinders good public investment and weakening of the infrastructure due to bribes paid for substandard specifications.
“On the political level, corruption leads to:
Undermining the government’s role in implementing the state’s public policy and development plans, spreading mistrust in the rule of law and state’s institutions, weakening democratic reforms, which damages political stability, depriving the right people from holding high positions, which increases hatred and affects cooperation with state’s institutions and undermining the monitoring of public and private sectors’ activities.
“On the social level, corruption leads to:
The collapse of social structure and the spread of hatred among society’s classes due to injustice and inequality, undermining national security and the social ladder, directly or indirectly, due to corruption’s economic and political repercussions.”
Fagbohunka further noted that it’s clear that the rate of corruption in Nigeria “is alarming, uncalled for and absolutely abysmal,” adding, “It has actually affected every aspect of public life, business investment and standard of living. It comes in different forms like petty bribery, contract fraud, money laundering, collecting salaries of nonexistent workers and illegally securing government jobs for family members and cronies.”
He described corruption “as an epidemic that has eaten deep into the fabric of the Nigerian society. Over the years, billions of dollars has been stolen from various sectors of Nigeria’s economy which include petroleum industry, trade and investment, agricultural, banking, infrastructural and power sector.
“The issue of corruption cuts across the entire nation. There are cases of corruption in the Nigerian police force, educational institution, political institution, health, humanitarian and many other sectors.
“Many past governors and public office holders have been indicted for embezzling public funds by the anti-graft agencies, in which they were arrested and charged to court for prosecution. Some of them have been jailed after being found guilty.
It will be recalled that the Federal Government of Nigeria has not explained to its citizens what happened to the $2.1 billion arms deal. The money was budgeted to purchase arms and ammunition to fight against insurgency in the North-East. But it was not utilized for the appropriate purpose. Does it mean the money suddenly disappeared into thin air without trace? The Nigerian citizens demand an explanation from the appropriate authority.
“In 2018, Nigeria was ranked as the 36th most corrupt country in the world by Transparency International.
It is shocking to note that in 2020, during the two weeks lockdown in Nigeria due to coronavirus
pandemic, billions of naira was spent to feed school children in the northern states, when schools were shut down. This is high level corruption.
“Corruption in Nigeria is like a disease that spreads from mother to child. This reminds me of the Covid-19 fund that the Federal Government gave out through Nirsal Micro-finance Bank to assist individuals and small scale businesses that were affected by the pandemic. Many applicants names were replaced with their own family members and cronies due to unnecessary reasons. I am a victim of such circumstances.
The way and manner things are going wrong in Nigeria is not healthy for any democratic setting. Even the executive, legislative and judiciary are corrupt. The National Assembly is nothing but a business enterprise where its members’ primary aims are to make money for themselves. They have forgotten that they were elected to represent their constituents so as to make laws for the betterment of the country.”
International Anti-Corruption Day is commemorated annually on December 9 in recognition of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, which was signed in Mexico in 2003.
This day provides an opportunity for political leaders, governments, legal bodies and lobby groups to join forces against corruption. On this day, anti-corruption advocates will engage the general public to effectively fight against corruption and fraud in communities.