Corruption Thrives Where Accountability is Ignored – Buhari

By Tony Obiechina, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that the Federal Government will not relent in the fight against corruption because of the damaging effect it has on the economy.

Declaring open the 49th annual conference of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) in Abuja on Tuesday, the President said his administration’s fight against corruption “is a struggle for nation building and the future generations.”

Represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, President Buhari noted that Corruption and impunity grow when accountability is disregarded and people get away with all manner of questionable things and accountants are unable to check them.

“I urge you now to always see corruption in its true color as a gross violation of human right. For the majority of our people, the millions that are in hardship, the sick, the helpless, corruption is the major reason why they cannot go to school, why we have few equipments and doctors in our hospital. Corruption diverts public resources thereby causes much suffering, deprivation and unnecessary death in the country”, he said.

The president added, “If we do not slay corruption with the passion it deserves, we will not get the result that we need. On our path, we will continue to provide the desired leadership and I am certain and optimistic that the glorious day we all long for will not be long in coming. Corruption, our greatest enemy will certainly fight back, but we must continue to fight to effect a change to our value system.”

He expressed confidence that the initiative of ICAN would greatly assist government at all levels to be more transparent and accountable to the people.

Acting Chairman of the Economic and Finance Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, while responding to a question from one of the participants that the EFCC usually sweeps corruption cases involving members of ruling party under the carpet, said this was not true.

He said the biggest conviction which the anti-graft agency had secured under his leadership were those involving two former governors. The two former governors are Jolly Nyame of Taraba State and Joshua Dariye of Plateau State.

According to him, “we are created to fight corruption. The biggest conviction we have is of two governors that have been convicted. You know their political affiliation and we don’t stop cases. In fact, in EFCC, it is better not to start because once we start, we must conclude. It is not true (blocking of cases of ruling party members). We don’t block cases.”

He called on ICAN to continue to support the fight against corruption adding that this would help stimulate economic development.

He also appealed to ICAN to introduce courses that would prepare accountants for the fight against corruption noting that as managers of the treasury, the role of accountants and auditors in the fight against corruption

 Also speaking, former Director of Kenyan Anti Corruption Agency, Prof Patrick Lumumba said Nigerians are not yet tired of corruption that is why the practice still thrives the country. 

“The day Nigerians become tired of corrupt practices, the actions that would follow would put an end to graft”, he noted

He lamented that in a society where people celebrate those that fraudulently enrich themselves, corruption will continue to thrive.

Prof Lumumba maintained that “corruption is a crime against humanity. Experiences have demonstrated that if a people in a country are sufficiently fed up they will rise up. If we think that the international community will solve our problems, then we have shown that we are incapable of solving them. 

“Sometimes, I think Nigerians and many Africans are not fed up. Because the day we are fed up, things will begin to change. But as long as we celebrate thieves, as long as we celebrate money no matter how they are got, everybody will want to have the money and they don’t care about how it is got. The day we begin to get angry, the country will change in one month.”

He added that, “If we do not slay corruption with the passion it deserves, we will not get the result that we need. On our path, we will continue to provide the desired leadership and I am certain and optimistic that the glorious day we all long for will not be long in coming. Corruption, our greatest enemy will certainly fight back, but we must continue to fight to effect a change to our value system.”

He expressed confidence that the initiative of ICAN would greatly assist government at all levels to be more transparent and accountable to the people.

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