ByÂ Emeka mamah, Kaduna
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has said that any Nigerian indicted for one form of corruption or the other should be barred from contesting any elective office until he has been cleared of such offence.
In a communiquÃ© at the end of its 10th anniversary in Kadua, ACF stated that the proposal by the National Assembly to allowÂ indicted people to contest elections during the on-going amendments of the 1999 Constitution runs counter to the anti-corruption crusade of the Federal Government as it would make the country a laughing stock in the international community.
ACF, however, urged the traditional rulers in the country, religious bodies and institutions of higher learning to stop the habit of glorifying persons with criminal records with various traditional or academic awards.
It said efforts must be made to eliminate or reduce the role of money in the nationâ€™s body politics as the so-called big money syndromeÂ has rendered the prosecution of indicted people exceedingly difficult.
It lamented the â€œunacceptably highâ€ profile of the country on the corruption ladder, noting that corrupt tendencies occur in almost all facets of the Nigeria life just as other African countries were doing better than Nigeria in fighting corruption.
The communiquÃ© read: â€œThe conference took note of the continuing flow of illicit financial resources from Nigeria as from 1970 to 2008 estimated at over $400 billion.
â€œThis has been matched in equal measure by declining standard of living, low life expectancy of Nigerians, stunted growth of children, high maternal and infant mortality rates, increase in the spread of HIV/AIDS, high death rate from malaria scourge, surge in criminality and lawlessness, especially among the youths.
â€œAlso growing in parts of the country are violent crimes such as armed robbery, kidnapping and drug trafficking which are escalating.
â€œThe upshot is the lack of capacity of the government and institutions in Nigeria to deliver on services and the leading poverty in the country.
â€œIt is therefore the position of the anniversary conference that campaigns against corrupt practices must be the biggest priority of all government agencies and civil society groups in Nigeria.
â€œStates and local government across the country have to get very committed to the campaigns. The campaign against corruption must not be left to federal agencies alone.
â€œThe conference called on all authorities, socio-cultural organizations, political parties as well as NGOs across the country to join in the fight against corruption in a most determined way.
â€œAll Nigerians are urged to work towards the return of cultural values that emphasise personal integrity and honesty and condemn corrupt practices.
â€œAccordingly, the conference called on ethnic nationalities, traditional rulers, universities and places of worship not to glorify corrupt people through award of traditional titles, honourary degrees or thankgiving prayers and services to people known or suspected to be corrupt.”