Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde has again restated the Commission’s resolved to eradicate corruption and other forms of economic and financial crime in Nigeria. Lamorde stated this at an event to mark this year’s World Anti-Corruption Day, held at the Shehu Musa Yar ‘Adua Centre, Abuja.
Lamorde who was represented by Chile Okoroma, director, Legal and Prosecution posited that the fight against corruption was irreversible and therefore called on patriotic Nigerians to support the Commission in fighting the social malaise “We will not relent until we make the country free from corruption. This is a task that can and must be done. But to win, all hands must be on deck, I therefore called on all Nigerians and lovers of this country to continue to support the EFCC and other anti-corruption organizations in this important battle,” he stated.
Lamorde seized the opportunity to showcase the successes the Commission has recorded in its effort to rid the nation of corruption. “The EFCC has strived relentlessly to check public corruption through vigorous law enforcement activities. This is evidenced by the profile of cases that the Commission has handled and the convictions achieved. In ten years of existence, the EFCC has recorded over a thousand convictions.”
He bemoaned the constraints that the Commission face in the judicial process as some cases in court drag endlessly; but commended the audacious judicial reforms initiated by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Maryam Aloma Mukhtar
Ledum Mitee, chairman of the Inter-Agency Task Team on corruption, said the theme for this year’s event, “Zero Corruption, 100% Development” was instructive. According to him, the debilitating consequences of corruption walks on all fours: “It not only undermines development but it is an enabler for other crimes and abnormalities thereby perpetuating a vicious cycle. It goes without saying that if we are to make significant progress on development issues, corruption must be reduced to the minimum.” He posited that for the fight against corruption to be more effective, the law must be applied holistically and across board no matter whose ox is gored. “There must be no sacred cows and the culture of impunity must be eradicated.”
However, Mitee was of the opinion that since investigation and prosecution of corruption cases was expensive and time consuming, it was cheaper and more impactful to prevent it before it happens. “Pro-active efforts must be made to identify and excise corruption risks to prevent occurrence,” he stated.
Maryam Sisoko, representative of United Nation Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC, also bemoaned the effect of corruption on the country. She said the biggest obstacle to any country’s development was corruption. According to her, if 10 per cent of the stolen wealth of this country was ploughed back into the system, it was enough to meet the country’s Millennium Development Goals. She urged all anti-corruption agencies to work together in their efforts to eradicate the social malaise.
In his view, M. Alan, European Union representative said he was delighted about the organization of the event which he said signposts the country’s willingness to fight corruption. He said the EU will continue to work with the UNODC to support all agencies involved in the fight against corruption in Nigeria. He called on the anti-corruption agencies to avoid interagency conflict, carry out better and more thorough investigations, operate at best international practice standard and become stronger in fighting corruption as well as avoid abuse of judicial process.
Agencies represented at the event include the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, the Nigeria Police, the Corporate Affairs Commission, the Bureau of Public Procurement, the Nigerian Customs Service and the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.
Media and Publicity(efcc)