Corruption, A Threat to Nigeria’s Socio-Economic Growth, Public Trust – Gov Akeredolu, Owasanoye

*Rep Seeks More Funding for ICPC to Combat Corruption

*ICPC To Offer Support To States to Tackle Corruption – Owasanoye

The Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, CON, and the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Prof Bolaji Owasanoye, SAN, OFR, have identified corruption as a major threat to Nigeria’s socio-economic growth, public trust and rule of law.

Governor Akeredolu and Prof. Owasanoye made this known on Thursday in Akure, Ondo State, at the commissioning of the anti-graft agency’s prototype State Office Building by the governor.

The Governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Princess Catherine Oladunni Odu, advocated collective efforts between the Federal Government and the sub-nationals to mitigate the spread of corruption across every sector of the economy.

“It goes without saying that corruption has eaten deep into the fabric of our national lives and it, therefore, requires collective efforts to mitigate its spread across every sector.

“There is no gainsaying the fact that corruption is yet a general malaise in Nigeria, thus undermining public trust in our institutions, hampering adherence to the rule of law and limiting socio-economic and political advancements,” Akeredolu said.

He also emphasized the need for all Nigerians to come together in order to continue to stem the pervasiveness of corruption in the country.

He further expressed the determination of the State Government to reduce corruption to the barest minimum as well as provide support to the ICPC to achieve its mandate.

In addition, the governor counselled on the need to embrace preventive approach in the fight against corruption, particularly in carrying out more awareness campaigns, seminars and time-to-time interactive engagement of state and non-state actors to drive anti-corruption policies in the state.

“This approach will lead to swift and efficient handling of corruption cases,” Gov. Akeredolu added.

In his welcome address, the ICPC Chairman stated that corruption poses a great impediment to the socio-economic growth and development of any nation.

“Corruption does not only blight the country’s reputation among the comity of nations, but also impedes the flow of Foreign Direct Investments, and a challenge to national security.

“At the sub-national levels, corruption is responsible for the challenges of meeting the primary obligation of government to citizens which is the security and wellbeing of the people,” he said.

Prof. Owasanoye assured that the Commission would offer support to States in tackling corruption.

“The Commission will support the Ondo State Government and any other state to deal with the hydra-headed monster, particularly in prevention, leveraging on our Systems Study and Review, and Corruption Risks Assessment tools to identifying all vulnerabilities to corruption within the systems, and corruption prone procedures that aid and facilitate fraud and exploitation of the system by unscrupulous public and civil servants, and their private sector allies,” he added.

The ICPC boss disclosed that the Commission had also embarked on several initiatives that focus on combating the menace of corruption thereby entrenching transparency and accountability in public systems to ensure that the benefits of good governance cascades to the grassroots.

According to him, the Commission’s Constituency and Executive Project Tracking Initiative (CEPTi) has demonstrated the imperative of citizens participation, open governance and inclusivity in the implementation of the country’s budget as it affects the people, as well as the need for transparent procurement process that should engender value for money.

“Our National Ethics & Integrity Policy (NEIP) initiative driven in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency, and the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation is geared towards addressing the decline of national values. The NEIP speaks to seven Core Values: Human Dignity, Voice and Participation, Patriotism, Personal Responsibility, Integrity, National Unity, and Professionalism.

“It will ensure national cohesion, law and order, security, and safety of person and property, freedoms and duties as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he stated.

He further noted that the Commission with the support of very credible partners had been working incisively to deal with Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) out of the nation’s shores.

“So far, our Proceeds of Crimes Tracing, Recovery and Management tool has ensured that the corrupt are denied of the luxury of enjoying their loots. The Commission in this regard has in accordance with the recently passed Proceeds of Crime Act 2022 disposed of some of the moveable and immoveable proceeds of crime on which it secured final forfeiture.

“The fight against corruption is a collective responsibility of all and not just of the anti-corruption and other law enforcement agencies. In this regard, we fight corruption as an existential threat to the stability of society and the peace and progress of society. There is no middle course or alternative we either deal with this malady or it will ultimately trigger a social crisis,” the ICPC boss said.

The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Anti-Corruption, Hon. Kayode Moshood Akiolu, commended the Commission for its unwavering dedication to its vital role as the apex body legally mandated to confront corruption and other related offences in Nigeria.

“The Commission’s accomplishments, including notable convictions across various sectors, have fostered a culture of accountability and integrity in our society.

“The ICPC’s forward-thinking initiatives, such as establishment anti-corruption club in schools and engaging young people through the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), demonstrate its commitment to instilling values of transparency and honesty in our youth,” the Representative said.

Hon. Akiolu emphasized the need for more funding of the ICPC in order to support the war against corruption.

“It is crucial that we increase the appropriation for the ICPC, recognizing that adequate funding is indispensable in bolstering the Commission’s capacity to combat corruption comprehensively.

“By allocating the necessary resources, we can empower the ICPC to continue its invaluable work, fostering a more transparent and corruption-free Nigeria,” he recommended.

The memorable event featured goodwill messages by representatives of the Chairman, Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption, the Chief Judge of Ondo State and the Speaker of the House of Assembly.

The ICPC’s Ondo State Office is the sixth prototype building to be commissioned since the inception of Professor Bolaji Owasanoye-led Board of the Commission in 2019.

The one-storey facility, which is located at GRA Block A, Plot 3C Oda Road, Akure, has two conference rooms, staff offices, interview rooms, detention facilities, library, store amongst others.