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I’ll not interfere with anti-graft agencies, says Jonathan

EFCC’ll  soon get Ibori  – Farida
By Daniel IDONOR
ABUJA—ACTING President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday inaugurated the eight-man board of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), headed by Mr Sam Saba, with a declaration that he will not interfere with the operations and activities of any of the anti-graft agencies in the country.

Dr Jonathan spoke just as the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Mrs Farida Waziri, declared that the recent chase and manhunt for the former Governor of Delta State, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, would continue until progress is made.

Mrs Waziri who fielded questions from State House Correspondents, moment after the inauguration of the board of the CCB, critisied youth and people of Oghara, native home of Ibori, for preventing security agencies from arresting the suspect.

While assuring the board that government will give  it all the support it need  to achieve the required result and meet the expectations of Nigeria, Jonathan stated that “I have promised that I will not interfere in the activities of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), EFCC, and the code of Conduct bureau. This promise I will keep in the interest of Nigeria”.

“It is in furtherance of this commitment that I today inaugurate the board of the code of conduct bureau. I therefore charge you to cue into this administration’s vision to ensure a corrupt free public service. You can do this by taking up the challenge to make assets declaration exercise more relevant in the anti-corruption drive”, he stressed.

Dr Jonathan disclosed that “the bureau has the mandate to establish and maintain a high standard of morality in the conduct of government business, and to ensure that hate actions and behavior of public officers conform to the highest standards of public morality and accountability.

This is carried out through the entrenchment of the code for public officers as enshrined in the 5th schedule to the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.

He reminded the new board members that “the future of this great country rested heavily on you because if the public service code of conduct is strictly adhered to by public servants at every level, there will be little for EFCC and ICPC to do but watch men and women of integrity lead this country on an accelerated path of sustainable development”.

“You should not be satisfied with merely processing code of conduct forms and prosecuting the odd individuals from time to time based on petitions. You must undertake periodic and regular evaluation to ensure that at all times public officials stick to the guidelines governing the conduct in the public service”, he warned.

To this end, according to him, “verification of assets declared by public officers at the beginning and end of tenure as well as prompt investigation of breaches of the code should be addressed with all seriousness”.

Responding, the Chairman of the board, Mr. Sam Saba the fight against corruption is always perceived as a difficult one because of the nature of the insidious crime, no finger print, and no eye witness to follow up, stressing that by nature it is a very secret crime.

“This is why Nigerians cannot and must not leave the fight against corruption only to the anti-corruption agencies. We must collectively fight this hydra-headed monster to finish. We share in this laudable aspiration because the fight against corruption is only one of the aspects of good governance”.

According to him, “we also believe that once we get our electoral process right and its conduct results in a credible, free and fair election with men and women elected by the people Rather than foisted on them, then an aspect of corruption in this country (from federal to local governments) would have been effectively tamed. Indeed political corruption has bedeviled this country for so long. It needs redemption! Perhaps this is the acceptable time”.

He assured the Acting President that “the board will settle down swiftly to tackle this assignment with the seriousness it deserves. The 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 5th schedule part one provide Code of Conduct for Public officers.

This set of moral principles or rules of behavior that have been accepted by Nigerians will be enforced accordingly to the letter and spirit as we believe that it lays a solid foundation to preventing corruption”.

The EFCC boss decried the low level participation of most Nigerians in the anti-graft crusade, saying that “we have challenges and as you know you cannot fight corruption in a situation where corruption is endemic and entrenched like what we have in Nigeria, to an extent that people are beginning to give up as those who are anti are even helpless trying to say that oh what we can do they are living with corruption and accepting corruption”.

She regretted that “you find a situation where we needed somebody to come and answer a few questions, former governor of Delta he fled and then the police went in and his villagers or people came out to support him, these are some of the things”.

“But what I am saying is that nobody is above the laws of the land and the law is no respecter of persons, we are going to get these people and it is a situation where all hands must be on deck include you the media, you have to inform the people truthfully, sincerely, taking the commitment of your father land into consideration and then the job will be done”.

She also assured that “EFCC will work with Code of Conduct bureau to end stealing in anticipation. This she explained that most people normally fill the CBC form in anticipation of what they will steal, noting that they will fill forms that they have a land somewhere which they will now develop”.


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