The United Nations Global Compact Office has asked the Federal Government to step up the fight against corruption in Nigeria to enhance development. Jobi Makinwa, the UN Head of Anti-Corruption Initiative, made the call at a two-day workshop on Public Private Partnership against Corruption on Thursday in Abuja. She said there was the need to streamline the activities of companies doing business in the country as their attitude to business had promoted corruption in the country. “The government of Nigeria needs to step up by ensuring that there is incentive for companies to abide by the laws. “One of the incentives is making sure that the laws and policies are put in place, not only that, but that they are fully enforced. “This will act as an incentive; the government itself must create a level playing field for other actors to be able to fight corruption in all its forms.” Ms. Makinwa described corruption as a major challenge to the advancement of sustainable development worldwide. She noted that for the fight against corruption to be effective, the private and public sectors must collaborate to ensure its elimination. “The business community at the international level, is now required to step up more than ever before in the elimination of corruption,” she said. Ms. Makinwa called for the enforcement of the anti-corruption law to tackle corruption in the country. Also speaking, Foluso Phillips, the Chairman of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), said corruption was the major challenge for the Nigerian economy. “There is no doubt that corruption has become a major issue in the lives of all of us here in this country; it has affected and it continues to affect so many aspects of our economy,” he said.
According to him, the level of corruption in the country has made it difficult to attract foreign direct investment flow. He charged the business community to take steps to address the vice as it undermined the interest of all Nigerians. Mr. Phillips said that the magnitude of corruption was mind bugling, and that the culture of impunity was still waxing stronger. He affirmed NESG’s belief in the deregulation of the downstream of oil and gas sector, saying the policy would help reduce corruption in the country. The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Lamorde, said the issue of fighting corruption topped the commission’s priority list. The EFCC boss, who was represented by the Commandant of EFCC Academy, Ayo Olowoniyi, lauded SIEMENS as one of the organisers of the event. “In the recent past as you are all aware, the company had gone beyond the strict parameters of international business practice and strayed into the mucky territory of unethical business practice and had gotten itself into a huge mess.’’ Mr. Lamorde described SIEMENS’ participation as a step in the right direction and commended the business community for recognising the need to partner with the government to tackle corruption. He gave the assurance that the commission would continue to fight corruption until it is wiped out. He said that the commission had begun the screening of its workers to ensure that they live up to expectations and not to compromise on matters of ethical structure.