May 23, 2024

Corruption Fight: ‘Walk the talk’, EFCC Chairman urges religious leaders

EFCC secures 3,175 convictions, recovers N156bn in one year

EFCC Chairman, Ola Olukoyede

….says: Gen Z generation not dissuaded from criminality by precepts only

By Luminous Jannamike

ABUJA – The Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ola Olukoyede, has called on religious leaders in Nigeria to take a more active role in the fight against corruption and cybercrime.

Olukoyede, who was represented by the EFCC Director of Public Affairs, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, spoke at the First Quarterly Meeting of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) in Abuja on Thursday.

He emphasized the crucial role religious leaders play in shaping the moral fabric of society and urged them to use their influence to promote integrity and transparency.

Olukoyede lamented that despite Nigeria’s rich human and mineral resources, corruption has hindered the country’s development, perpetuating poverty and insecurity.

He stressed that the fight against corruption requires a collective effort, and religious leaders must join forces with the EFCC to tackle this menace.

The EFCC chairman said, “As a deeply religious society, we believe that religious organizations and their leaders have crucial roles to play in inculcating morals, which is the foundation for integrity and accountability in the conduct of individual and public affairs.

“Corruption is a cankerworm that has eaten deep into the fabrics of our society, with its attendant effects on the citizenry. Nigeria has all it takes – human and mineral resources – to truly be the Giant of Africa, but she is held back by corruption.

“The task to ensure that we do not create an environment for the corrupt to take over our society belongs to every one of us. It should not be left only to the EFCC. When it comes to stealing the country’s wealth, the looters are united by their common greed. Their ethnic identities and religious backgrounds make no difference so far as their fingers are on the till.”

However, the EFCC chairman criticized some religious leaders for tolerating corrupt practices and failing to speak out against graft, even when it involves their members.

He urged them to preach not just prosperity but also integrity, and to lead by example.

Olukoyede said, “Religious leaders must always preach against evil things, religious leaders must always try to guide the followers in the right path through their weekly sermons… and also by personal example.

“The clergy still preaches morality, but the paradigm shift is that, unlike the older generation, this generation called Gen Z is not dissuaded from criminality by precepts only. They yearn for role models and mentors.

“Men of faith also sometimes forget that, as leaders, they are accountable to God and their flock. The code of governance in many faith organizations is opaque, throwing up murmurs of underhand practices in the house of God.”

Olukoyede commended the NIREC for its efforts in promoting interfaith dialogue and harmony, and called for closer collaboration between religious organizations and the EFCC to combat corruption and cybercrime.

He announced that the EFCC has developed Interfaith Preaching and Teaching Manuals to assist religious leaders in developing sermons that address corruption and cybercrime challenges.

The NIREC meeting brought together religious leaders from across the country to discuss the role of religion in combating corruption and cybercrime.

The participants agreed that religious leaders have a vital role to play in promoting moral values and ethical behavior, and pledged to support the EFCC in its fight against corruption.

With this call to action, religious leaders are expected to take a more proactive stance against corruption and cybercrime, using their pulpits to preach integrity, transparency, and accountability.

The EFCC, on its part, has pledged to continue its partnership with religious organizations to build a just, equitable, and transparent society where the wealth of the nation is used for the good of all.