Nigerian government lacks political will to fight corruption-Ribadu

The former graft fighter said the government has dumped reports of investigation into corruption.

The former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Nuhu Ribadu, has offered reasons why corruption persists in the Nigerian polity, citing impunity and lack of political will to fight the menace of corruption as the major obstacles.

Mr. Ribadu, who was the presidential candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN in the 2011 presidential election, said only a corrupt-free president who is also ready to subject his cronies to the processes of the law, in case of infringement, can lead the crusade against corruption.

Other hitches to successful anti-corruption war identified by the ex-EFCC chairman include interference in the works of law enforcement agencies, and certain loopholes in the justice administration which make corruption cases difficult to prosecute.

Mr. Ribadu spoke on Sunday in Lagos at a Pre-Ramadan Lecture organised by the University of Lagos Muslim Alumni, with the theme “Corruption and Justice in Nigeria”.

Corruption profile of Nigeria, according to him, is rising to a worrisome level as many convicts go largely unpunished or given a mild sentence for monumental theft. He also described recent pardon of some highly placed individuals convicted of corruption by the federal government as rubbishing the war against corruption.

“So many corrupt people get away with their acts, largely because of their relationships with heads of institutions that ought to counter or expose their abuse of office. Some convicts are being granted state pardon, thereby rubbishing the whole effort at corruption. These practices have turned corruption into a sort of culturally or ethically accepted trend,” he said.

According to Mr. Ribadu, it takes a great deal of goodwill and readiness of the political leadership to launch an effective anti-corruption campaign, as he cited the example of the infamous Malabu oil deal and the report of the presidential task force on oil revenue as being jeopardized by executive silence.

For a new leaf in anti-graft crusade, Mr. Ribadu advocated for electing credible and incorruptible leaders who would set the tune for the crusade, as well as strengthening of anti-corruption agencies for them to be truly independent.

He, however, dispelled the clamour for special courts for corruption, arguing that what was needed is review of the procedural laws and sincere application of same by any court of competent jurisdiction.

The former EFCC chairman also charged the legislative arm of government to be alert to its oversight responsibilities which, he said, is a primary mechanism of tackling corruption.

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