Monday, December 9, 2019 7:07 pm
In commemoration of the International Anti-Corruption Day themed, “Zero Tolerance to Corruption”, which gave an opportunity to sensitise and enlighten the public against corruption, the staff of Ibadan Zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, led by the Zonal Head, Mr Friday Ebelo on Monday December 9, 2019 held a road walk in Ibadan.
The staff, who were clad in branded EFCC T-Shirts with an inscription, “Say No to Corruption! Every No Counts”, were joined by security outfits including the Police, State Security Service, DSS, Prison Service, Customs, Immigration, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, held a rally at Dugbe to sensitise Nigerians against corruption.
The rally, held amidst fanfare, had members of the commission and others taking a walk around some parts of Ibadan without disturbing vehicular movements of the areas covered.
The staff, who are regimented in nature were free to catch fun, sing and dance while the rally lasted.
Earlier, addressing the media, Mr Ebelo noted that corruption remains the most potent threat to human existence, stressing that it is at the root of every tragedy that ever befell mankind and identified as the ultimate potential impediment to the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals proposed for full actualisation by the year 2030.
He said, “It is the realisation of these threats and the need to nip them in the bud that countries of the world came together under the auspices of the United Nations to pass the United Nations Convention against Corruption, UNCAC, in December 2003. As of today, 186 member-states are parties to the treaty. The document currently has 140 signatories and 30 ratifications. Those are in addition to the full involvement of notable Non-Member states of the global body. This historical perspective is imperative to drive home the point that today’s event is neither restricted to our zone nor an exclusive affair of the EFCC as an anti-graft agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria. It is not just a national event either. It is global and the essence is to enlist all stakeholders – state and non-state – to collectively and individually get involved in the fight against corruption for the good and progress of mankind”.
The Zonal Head pointed out that the Commission has upped the ante of the anti-corruption campaign in Nigeria with verifiable evidence to prove that its efforts were yielding positive results.
“For the Ibadan zone, the last one year witnessed a beehive of activities with unprecedented successes as the zone contributes its modest quota to the global fight against corruption. In the last one year, particularly from January 2019 till date, the zone received 691 petitions. 213 of these were returned unapproved as issues raised therein did not fall under the purview of our mandate. In the course of investigations, the zone arrested 878 persons. Out of the 268 prosecuted, 171 have been convicted. Our investigations also led to temporary fixing of 1044 bank accounts, while 56 automobiles and 14 houses were impounded. We equally have several laptops, android phones and many other electronic devices confiscated in compliance with court orders”, he explained.
He added, “In the period under review, the zone also recovered, on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, huge sums of money in both local and foreign currencies. These include a total of N211, 134,927.26. For the foreign currencies, we had $136, €2000 and £765”.
Urging Nigerians to join in the crusade against corruption, Ebelo explained, “Corruption poses an existential threat to our survival as individuals and as a nation. We must personalise the fight against the monster if we truly desire a corruption-free Nigeria. We can’t sit on the fence and expect success in this campaign. We must all get involved. It is a winnable war if only we show doggedness and commitment”.
In the same direction, the Oyo State Director of National Orientation Agency, NOA, Mrs. Dolapo Dosunmu condemned public office holders who looted the nation’s treasury and stashed it abroad, saying that those that steal public funds and take it abroad are the enemies of the nation.
Dosunmu noted that one of the worst crimes that could be committed against a nation is to steal the commonwealth and take it abroad, describing such act as economic sabotage.
“These people steal our money. They steal your money. They steal our rights and take it abroad claiming that the money belong to their families. Do not steal from the Oyo State purse. Allow the money that belongs to Oyo State to be used for Oyo State. The fight against corruption is not a job that can be done alone by the uniform men. It is the work of all of us. Join hands with anti-corruption agencies to fight this war and win”, she said.
She warned Nigerians against putting pressure on their family or political relation who are public office holders, pointing that it is wrong to encourage those you know in government to steal because if they are caught, they would be jailed.
In his speech, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State also urged Nigerians to join hands with anti-corruption agencies to fight corruption and stamp it out of the country, stressing that without eradicating corruption, no Nigerian citizen would experience the dividend of democracy.
Makinde, who pledged his support to EFCC in fighting corruption to a standstill in Nigeria, said that he inherited an almost bankrupt state due to the poor management of the state by his predecessor, pointing out, “Oyo State was almost bankrupt when we took over”.
According to him, with corruption ravaging the country, it may be difficult for the good old days to come, adding “Do you know what corruption can do to you? Do you know what corruption can do to a nation? If you want free health system, if you want free education, if you want good road, if you want infrastructural development, then fight corruption and kill it. Let me tell you, we have been able to achieve something because we are not corrupt. If we are corrupt, we would not have been able to do what we are doing. If you see anybody engaging in corruption, say it. My government will fight corruption down to the local level. We will tackle corruption even at the grassroots level. Oyo State is happy to join EFCC to fight corruption. We are the first state in Nigeria to domesticate anti-graft law. We will ensure that whatever we do during this administration, we will do it right”.