As the world marks the 2023 International Anti-Corruption Day, the National Association of Seadogs, popularly known as Pyrates Confraternity, Katamaran Deck, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, has called on the Federal Government to show more seriousness about its crusade against corruption by prosecuting public and elected officials already indicted over corruption and other malpractices.
It stated that it’s time the Federal Government ensured that corrupt public and elected officials faced the consequences of their actions.
Capoon of the Katamaran Deck comprising Ijebu and Remo lands with secretariat in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, Olugbenga Otunba-Payne, stated this in commemoration of the 2023 International Anti-Corruption Day. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Uniting The World Against Corruption.”
He said the fight against corruption in Nigeria should no longer be handled with levity and those indicted treated with kid gloves, urging governments at all levels to strengthen their various anti-graft mechanisms with the major aim of making them more effective to discharge their legally assigned duties.
He said it’s only when this is done that governments at the Federal, state and local government levels can effectively combat the menace so that the current high incidence of corruption can be reduced to the barest minimum.
Otunba-Payne noted that the corruption menace which had become so deeply entrenched, had eaten very deep into the fabric of the Nigerian society that it’s now seemingly an impossible task to extricate it from our body politic.
He expressed disgust that Nigeria has consistently been ranked annually among the most corrupt countries in the world by Transparency International.
The Katamaran capoon added that corruption negatively affects every aspect of life in Nigeria, adding that instant prosecution and punishment of those public and elected officials already indicted would go a long way in deterring others.
Otunba-Payne stated that the incidence of corruption in Nigeria has become alarming, uncalled for and completely abysmal.
He added that it has affected every aspect of public life, business investment and standard of living, noting, “It comes in different forms like petty bribery, contract fraud, money laundering, collecting salaries of non-existent workers and illegally securing government jobs for family members and cronies.
He further said, “Many former governors, politicians and other public office holders have been indicted for corruption by the anti-graft agencies, arrested and charged to court. Only few of them have been found guilty and punished appropriately, but many of them have escaped unpunished. They’ve become sacred cows and now walking around freely. This is very discouraging.
“The problem of corruption traverses the whole country. There are many cases of corruption in the police, educational, political, health and humanitarian institutions as well as many other sectors.
“Corruption has become an epidemic has grown to an epidemic that has been ravaging the Nigerian society. Over the years, trillions of Naira have been stolen and siphoned from the various sectors of the Nigerian economy, particularly in the petroleum industry, trade and investment, agricultural, banking, infrastructural and power sectors.”
Otunba-Payne further stated that it was time for Nigerians to take concerted steps to collectively defeat corruption.
He said all hands must, therefore, be on the deck to combat corruption, adding that it’s not a fight that should be left to the President alone.
“It must be a fight of all Nigerian citizens as corrupt people are everywhere, including the Presidency; so, we must all ensure that corruption is exposed everywhere it exists.
“We must all put pressure on government and the anti-graft agencies to ensure that corrupt people face the consequences of their actions.”
Otunba-Payne blamed corruption for the high level of poverty in the society and the inability of people to provide for their families, saying it’s the same reason retirees who served the country for 35 years had yet to be paid their gratuities and pensions.
The 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.