In fact, as most Nigerians believe, just as much as President Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria must kill corruption before corruption kills Nigeria. The recent Tansparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) rating Nigeria in a downward spiral for a second consecutive year is disgusting. In the TI rating, Nigeria dropped from 26 in 2019 to 25 in the 2020 assessment, and further to 24. TI acknowledged ’that corruption levels are at a worldwide standstill’ and that ‘31 countries have made no significant progress against corruption in the last decade.
Corruption will continue to thrive in the country when accountability is ignored. Because of the damaging effects of corruption on the country’s economy, the Buhari administration has been doing everything possible to curb the malaise. PMB promised to tackle corruption at the 49th annual conference of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), he was represented by the SGF.
The standstill in fighting corruption in the country is due to impunity with the failure of successive government to frontally tackle the scourge of corruption in Nigeria and has continued to fuel the negative perception of Nigeria as an endemically corrupt country and this perception is what is revealed in the CPI ranking of Nigeria. For the hindsight, President Buhari had been pontificating with his desire to fight corruption. In spite of his commitment, the war remains ineffective because corruption has the backing of everyone in the country, as the society does not see anything wrong with corruption.
Even though, corruption in Nigeria is as old as the country itself and cuts across tribes, and classes. Corruption is one of the greatest threat to our existence, it makes the country unable to be among the BRICS – five major emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
Honouring transparency and accountability is no longer fashionable, and corrupt people don’t feel bad about their actions, because everybody else is doing it. Those who choose not to do it are considered cowards and becoming a laughing stock in the society. Traditional institutions also cease to stop honouring corrupt people with undeserved traditional titles.
For anti-corruption efforts to be effective, there is the need for preventive reforms To win the war against corruption, there is the need to establish strong anti graft agencies that cannot be manipulated. The agency must imbibe the culture of accountability, to.enable.them to perform optimally.
The anti graft agencies and government should treating all corrupt people equally without favouritism or discrimination, without making anti graft agency a witch hunting tools to deal with perceived political opponents. Citizens expect government at all levels to honour honest people by having decent life after living public service with at least a befitting accommodation because those in civil or public offices are struggling with thinking of life after office. This will instil accountability in the minds of all where the notion of using one chance of stealing public funds will be defeat.
Since the efforts face an uphill battle, something new has to be tried and the extant laws have to be reformed. Sometimes you have to try new and creative ways to solve problems. There is a need for the commission to collaborate with the Office of the Attorney General, Chief Justice of the Federation and the National Assembly towards the establishment of a Special Anti-corruption Tribunal to facilitate speedy determination of hundreds of corruption cases before the nation’s regular courts. The special anti-corruption tribunal will fast track the prosecution of corrupt cases. This will end the delay in treating high profile cases of corruption, raise the morale of anti-graft agencies, facilitate speedy determination of hundreds of corruption cases before the nation’s regular courts.
The National Assembly should speed up deliberations and passage of strengthened anti-corruption efforts in the interest of Nigerians in making corruption a capital punishment. If capital punishment could bring down corruption in China it can have the same effect in Nigeria. If we hope to see the end of corruption in Nigeria, we have to deter those who are easily swayed into corrupt practices and the best deterrence is death sentence.
Against the backdrop of low rating of Nigeria in the Transparency International (TI) corruption perception index, the federal government has continued to contest the rating while Nigerians and CSOs are demanding more explanations from the government.
Dukawa writes via firstname.lastname@example.org