Activists to rally in Abuja against waning anti-corruption fight

Civil society groups in the country are planning a mass rally for Abuja on Thursday to demand the end of impunity by government and its agencies in the fight against corruption.

Tagged ‘END IMPUNITY NOW’, the campaign is aimed at highlighting the detrimental and devastating impact the growing systemic corruption has on citizens and the national economy if unchecked.

Executive Director, Africa Network Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), David Ugolor, and National Convener, United Action for Democracy (UAD), Jaye Gaskia, told reporters on Saturday that the planned rally became necessary because “the catastrophic impact of this endemic systemic corruption is no longer sustainable, and is therefore categorically unacceptable.”

“We are worried and disturbed by the rot in the system, which continues to allow criminal acts to go unpunished, the brazen looting of the treasury to go on unabated, while the constitution of the Federal Republic is routinely blatantly violated and breached without consequence,” Mr. Ugolor said.

“We are worried and concerned enough as patriotic citizens of our Country to reach the conclusion that something drastic, immediate, and far reaching must be urgently done to end all forms of impunity in the governance of our country, and begin the process of salvaging Nigeria.”

Mr. Ugolor said the monumental fraud and corruption uncovered in the management of the fuel subsidy regime is evident that corruption had become the single most significant impediment to the guarantee of citizens’ welfare, the development of the national economy, and the achievement of national security.

“Corruption is why basic services and infrastructure cannot be provided, why the cost of living is daily rising, why we cannot generate the power required to drive the economy, why we are being asked to pay more for declining services, why the argument will always be made for further increases in fuel prices, why acts of armed banditry have been proliferating, and why insurgencies and insurrections are mounting all over the country,” he said.

Urging the relevant authorities to identify, investigate, prosecute and punish every act of corruption, Mr. Ugolor said “the price to be paid for corruption must be so costly that it acts as a deterrent to new corruption.”

During the “End Impunity Now” campaign, the civil society community plan to send petitions to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Executive Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and his counterpart in the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) to endorse the call for them to exercise their constitutional powers against corruption.

The petitions would convey demands for the immediate implementation of the House of Representatives report on the fuel subsidy fraud, despite recent allegations of bribery against members of the ad-hoc committee, while security agencies should immediately take steps to thoroughly and promptly investigate the fraud revealed in the probe report and bribery allegations and prosecute any indicted culprits.

While calling on the Senate to urgently conclude its investigations and release the report on the corruption in the petroleum sector, the petitions would also focus on the growing state of insecurity in the country and the inability of the government to increase power generation capacity despite spending over $20billion on the sector.  

The groups warned that if obvious and concrete steps are not taken within one week by the 5th of July 2012, they would mobilise Nigerians to occupy public spaces in the country “until the government shows clear signs and takes credible and concrete steps aimed at tackling corruption in this sector in particular, and in all aspects of governance in general.”



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