The Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa has called on Nigerians to take ownership of the fight against corruption.
He gave the charge in a message to commemorate the International Anti-Corruption Day at an event organized by the Inter Agency Task Team (IATT), in Abuja.
The EFCC Chairman who was represented by the Secretary to the Commission, Dr. George Ekpungu, said “Nigerians must see the fight against corruption as their own battle. We must be prepared to give full expression to the powers of the office of the citizen by not only holding our leaders accountable, but ensuring that we fulfil our obligations in line with the law.
“The theme of this year’s event: “Your Role Your Right: Say No to Corruption,” fits well into the vision of active citizens’ involvement in the fight against corruption. As citizens, we cannot afford to be complacent in matters of accountability and transparency especially as it relates to the management of our common patrimony. The fortune of our nation is a delicate asset that we must guard jealously at all times and in all places, privately and publicly.
“Successful anti-corruption models across the world are built on active citizens’ engagement and ownership. This is the model that we are replicating in Nigeria as reflected in our 2021-2025 Strategic Plan objectives which seeks “to increase public engagement in the fight against economic and financial crimes,” through education, enlightenment and value re-orientation
“Our corruption and fraud prevention advocacy targets organizations such as faith-based groups, Youth organizations, women organizations, students’ organizations, civil society organizations, among others”.
He added that the EFCC was optimistic that with improved public trust, through adherence to rule of law and best practices in investigation, the space for more inclusive participation will widen to defeat the monster called corruption.
Speaking earlier, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, who participated virtually, said Nigeria has recorded tremendous success in the fight against corruption. He specifically lauded the EFCC for its contributions to the fight against corruption in Nigeria. “In 2015, Nigeria recorded one hundred and four convictions. But today, the EFCC alone has recorded One Thousand Four Hundred Convictions in 2021”, he said.
The Country Representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC, Dr. Oliver Stolpe who spoke on behalf of the UN System, noted that Nigeria has created a formidable legal and institutional anti-corruption framework and operational capabilities which is the envy of many nations.
“Arrest, prosecution/convictions of the corrupt has become a daily occurrence at the international and regional level, Nigeria remains a leader and strong advocate for a more robust international anti-corruption framework and mechanism, allowing for investigation and trial for trans-national cases of corruption, recovery and return of proceeds of crime,” he said
In his welcome address, Chairman, Inter Agency Task Team, Barrister Olusegun Adenkunle, said corruption prevents the attainment of the Social Development Goals and gives room for crime and criminality to thrive. According to him, to make significant progress, corruption must be reduced to the barest minimum.
More goodwill messages were presented by heads of anti-corruption agencies, all stressing the urgency of the need to deepen the fight against corruption in Nigeria.
The highlight of the event was a panel discussion on “Beneficial Ownership Disclosure: A tool for fighting corruption, recovery of assets; preventing illicit financial flows and terrorism financing, which featured representatives from the EFCC, PCC, ICPC, and CISLAC among others.