The Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has said that the fight against corruption may not yield as much result as expected, especially in developing countries, if decisive actions and policies are not taken or implemented to strengthen anti-graft agencies.
He advised that the country should leverage on smart technology to plug holes that allow for corrupt practices.
Obaseki said this on the occasion of the commemoration of the International Anti-corruption Day marked every December 9, by the United Nations.
Stressing that the menace of corruption has robbed Nigeria of social and economic advancement, he said, “On this day, we must acknowledge the fact that we are in the sorry state we find ourselves today because of acts of corruption perpetuated for a long time by those entrusted by the people to manage their affairs.
“But in doing so, we must also acknowledge the efforts of visioners and officers of anti-graft agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commissions (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), who have fought to beat our people back in line.”
The governor said it was regrettable that even some of those who have come to condemn corruption in the open, have been fingered in wrongdoings, urging for sincerity and commitment to the ideals of probity in the discharge of duties.
He said the 2017 theme, United Against Corruption for Development, Peace and Security, is pertinent because it validates the need for everyone to be involved in the bid to rid society of corruption, stressing, “This fight must take the collective efforts of citizens and leaders, to ensure the people continue to hold their leaders accountable and to demand transparency. This must happen regardless of whatever parochial interest that might cloud the intentions of a few individuals.”
Noting that his administration has made its stand known on matters of corruption by its various initiatives and style of management, he said the state has demonstrated its resolve to expunge persons with traces of corruption from its fold through the actions taken in recent times in some institutions of government.
He added that the ugly trend of trafficking in humans involves, to a large extent, traces of corruption because of the deceit and financial fraud, which cartels deploy when they prey on youths, adding “human trafficking thrives on fraud. And the EFCC and ICPC and other relevant agencies must see to it that the perpetrators of this kind of crime are brought to book. There are elements of bribery as much as there is extortion in the activities of these cartels, among other forms of financial fraud.”
The United Nations Assembly ratified the International Anti-corruption Day into force in December 2005 after it adopted the convention against corruption on 31st October 2003.
The UN estimates that every year, $1 trillion is paid in bribes while an estimated $2.6 trillion are stolen annually through corruption – a sum equivalent to more than 5 per cent of the global GDP.
“The 2017 joint international campaign focuses on corruption as one of the biggest impediments to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” the UN stated.