By Anthony Isaac
The Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Mr. Waziri Adio has stated that tackling corruption in Nigeria would lead to creation of more jobs and provision of social amenities.
Adio who spoke in Abuja on Monday at an event to mark the 2019 world anti-corruption day, said corruption has denied Nigerians a lot of opportunities grow.
Represented by the Director, Communication and Advocacy, Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, Adio urged Nigerians to rise up to the challenge and stamp out corruption in the country.
He said: “Corruption is a challenge that this country and its citizens must stand for and face squarely. Corruption in government, corruption in the private sector, corruption in our private lives have deprived us of enormous opportunities and potentials that citizens and our country possess. As a result of corruption roads cannot be built, schools cannot function, citizens cannot have access to jobs, health care and all other basic social amenities”.
He pointed out that “as a result of corruption, our country faces a lot of security challenges and strives because a poor man is an angry man and when somebody is angry, he very unpredictable. An unpredictable man is a very dangerous man to deal with”.
He pointed out that Nigerians “are all over the world scrambling and taking very avoidable dangers on how to survive simply because available resources in their country cannot be utilized to provide them soft landing and abundant opportunities at home”.
He expressed optimism that NEITI’s push to put in place a register of asset owners in the oil and gas sector, and the solid minerals sector would lead to more openness and increased revenue for the government.
“I am glad that NEITI which is the chair of IATT is playing a very key role in bringing attention to what corruption means in the extractive industries. Today’s celebration is actually moving towards knowing who owns what in the extractive industry. Who are the owners of oil blocks? What kind of money do they make? And how do they utilize the money? he queried.
On her part, the Head, Technical Unit on Governance and Anti-Corruption Reform (TUGAR), Lilian Ekeanyanwu rated Nigeria average in the quest end corruption in the country,
She however noted that a lot successes have been achieved in the past few years.
According to her, “We are trying to implement the anti-corruption strategies in Nigeria and also track the progress. So far I think we are doing well. I will rate us above average in the anti-corruption fight in Nigeria.
“This is because if you look at the number of high-profile people who have been sanctioned for corruption in Nigeria, there are very few countries that have achieved this. It is only one country that has death penalty for corruption, but many others are still struggling to sanction the calibre of people we have successfully sanctioned in Nigeria.
“I know that law enforcement and the judicial process is slow, but we are consistently doing a lot in that effect. And when it comes to prevention, it is amazing how much we have achieved”.
In his goodwill message, the Country Representative, United Nation Office on Drugs and Crime, Mr. Oliver Stolpe said every year, trillions of dollars – the equivalent of more than five percent of global Gross Domestic Product – are paid in bribes or stolen through corrupt practices that seriously undermine the rule of law and abet crimes such as the illicit trafficking of people, drugs and arms.
He explained that tax evasion, money laundering and other illicit flows divert much-needed resources from schools, hospitals and essential infrastructure; funds that are essential to advancing the Sustainable Development Goals.
“People are right to be angry. Corruption threatens the well-being of our societies, the future of our children and the health of our planet. It must be fought by all, for all”, he added.