Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, has said that the fight against corruption in the country will be tougher in the new administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, tagged Next level.
He said this at the National Democracy Day Anti-Corruption Summit organised by the commission, with the theme ‘Curbing Electoral Spending: A Panacea To Public Corruption’, an event held in Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.
Earlier in his welcome address, Magu said that the event suggested that the horizon of the fight against corruption is very clear, even as “we move to the next level.”
Magu while further indicating that the principle of democracy has been bastardised across the globe by the elites who use swollen wealth to suppress the wish of the people, he lamented that we lack proper education and enlightenment.
He stated: “Corruption does not only stifle the economy but perpetrates terrorism in Nigeria. For the first time, We are monitoring illegal cash movement to reduce vote buying and many have been convicted.”
Commenting on the giant strides of the commission as to the convictions it has made in the last four years, Magu opined: “In 2015, we secured 103 convictions 195 in 2016, 189 in 2017, 314 in 2018, and from January to May, 2019, we secured 406 conviction, despite the fact that its not been easy for us. So far, we have made 1,207 in 4 years.”
He added: “The fight against corruption requires multi-stakeholders approach. I appreciate the fact the some state governors are identifying with this idea as radical reform is urgently needed. There is no better time than now to fight it. We will continue to collaborate with other agencies.
“As we move to the next level, it will get tougher because we are determined to rid the country of corruption. We know corruption will always fight back but it will solidify our resolve to make the war more formidable.
“We all have the moral burden on the fight and take full responsibility.”
Speaking earlier while declaring the event open, President Muhammadu Buhari called on Nigerians to see the anti- corruption fight of his administration as a means that is not meant to only rid poverty but also right many wrongs in the society.
The President, continuing, lamented that Africa has, in the last 50 years, lost 1trillion dollar to corruption.
At the event, the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame described Nigeria has a country that has shown a common cause for the progress of Africa and is truly the engine of Africa potential.
Kagame, speaking further on the corruption fight, said: “We stand in solidarity with your effort and our corruption fight must stand on transparency and public accountability.
“This is a campaign that can be won. It is a choice and within our power to end it. It is growing because leaders have made it acceptable while turning a blind eye to the consequence.
“Corruption needs to be tackled from the top downward as it is the most effective way. It can be reduced to the minimum level.”
Kagame however identified four major keys to fighting corruption which are: culture, responsibility, accountability and effectiveness.
“Corruption does not take decades to eradicate once we decide to break the habit. This brings me to responsibility. We are in charge of our own future. The purpose of transparency is not to impress others but to make others imbibe our attitudes,” he added.
Former Director, Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission, Professor Patrick Lumumba, in his remark, hailed President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2015 statement where he said: “if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria.”
He said the statement was not only true about Nigeria but Africa in general.
Lumumba stated that “Almost every country in Africa has anti-corruption agency but Nigeria’s EFCC stands out by its demonstration.”
“Corruption must be tackled without sacred cows. The critical majority must have a change of heart and educate the population to educate children of darkness.
”I say this because corruption has victims and undermine democracy. This continent can no longer survive if corruption is what we embrace.
“It is my hope that this event will energize us that our country can be safe if we do away with the chalice of corruption. Let’s know that the monster of corruption is after our life.”
While saying that President Buhari cannot fight corruption alone, he said tasked the rest of the citizens to collaborate with efforts of the Presidency to fight the battle together.
He hopefully assured that one day, “we will ask ourselves that Corruption, where is thy sting?”