For the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to show sincerity in its anti-graft war, all alleged corrupt members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) must be tried to pass the simple test of sincerity, a senior lawyer, Femi Falana SAN, has advocated.
The human right activist, who threw the challenge at the ActionAid Nigeria Strengthening Citizens’ Resistance Against Prevalence of Corruption (SCRAP-C) stakeholders’ dialogue yesterday in Kano, insisted that many members of the ruling party were corrupt and must be prosecuted to send a strong signal to others.
He said: “Unlike previous administrations, this Buhari regime has shown sound interest in fighting corruption, but how far can it go? If it must succeed, we must not make it a government business. All state governors should be made to join the Federal Government in the campaign. If someone has stolen the money of the state government, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should come through the Attorney General and investigate.
“To effectively fight corruption, the federal, state and local governments must fund welfare programmes. There are laws that we fought for – right to minimum wage, right to education and right to health – among others.”
Falana noted that of the 36 states, only Kano had an anti-corruption agency, adding: “APC controls 20 states. Aside Kano and the Federal Government, no other state is controlling corruption. Even then, with the powers conferred on the EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices (and other related Offences) Commission (ICPC), there is a limit they can go because they are underfunded, they are also controlled by government, which decides who they investigate and who not to investigate.”
He went on: “The regime of President Olusegun Obasanjo said he wanted to fight corruption. It was meant to impress the international bodies. If you are fighting a course, you cannot fight corruption. Libya under Gadaffi had the best policy in Africa, but the western world was after him and he was brought down. If you want to run our country and change corruption, we need to change our policies.”
Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Ene Ebi, said to eradicate graft, the citizenry must be dogged and determined to ask right questions and political leaders and institutions must be answerable to the people, maintaining that it was only that way Nigerians could collectively address this common enemy that had held back the nation for decades.