President Muhammadu Buhari must be ruthless in tackling corruption in his second term in office, Prof Femi Odekunle, a member of Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PCAC), has said.
He told journalists on Monday that Buhari and his team must be ruthless against corruption, stressing that the era of “man knows the man” in the fight against corruption should be gone.
Odekunle, a professor of criminology, said the government must deploy all legitimate sources of warfare against corruption while there must be moral rebirth through the teaching of the values of honesty and integrity from infancy. According to him, if your brother or wife is caught in corruption mess, make them an example, which will resonate all over the country.
“If somebody is accused of corruption and is convicted, he should suspend his national honours and the privileges thereto. ”Privileges should be denied those who have corruption cases, adding that people who carried on with corruption cases hanging on them must be taught to be remorseful.
“Take, for example, the former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Walter Onnoghen, who was convicted of corruption, they said he should take voluntary retirement in order for him to take his benefits.
“In this case, you are discouraging people who are honest, this man has done what you accused him of and then you called him to come and retire and enjoy his benefit, then what is the use,” he said.
Odekunle said that others would take a cue from such approach and continue in that line of corruption, noting that there should be no sacred cow and sympathy at this stage of the nation’s corrupted development.
He noted that there would always be corruption in the polity, stating that no country could be free of such menace, adding however that what Nigeria currently has was endemic and systemic nature of corruption. Odekunle said that the extent at which corruption had been widely spread in the past and the humongous funds involved was worrisome.
He, however, said that President Buhari made concrete progress in the past four years to curtail the menace of corruption. He stated that this was the first time in the country that a president would openly say he was against corruption.
Odekunle said that Nigeria had not had a President who said fighting corruption was his main objective, adding that Nigeria now has a President who could not be pinned down with stolen fund.
He said, “though there are those saying what of his lieutenants or minister, the boss of the Ministries Departments and Agencies who are stealing money, which is possible, but is neither here nor there.”
Odekunle said unlike the previous situation, the government has retrieved billions of naira, adding that the Treasury Single Account (TSA) had helped in no small measure in the fight against corruption. According to him, also, N594 billion have been saved in one or two years of whistleblowing policy.
It was gathered that PACAC was established in 2015 as part of the President’s strategy to combat corruption in Nigeria.
Its mandate includes promoting reform agenda in anti-corruption, advising on the prosecution of the war against corruption and implementation of reforms in the criminal justice system.
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