Nigeria must eliminate “sacred cow syndrome” to win graft war – Fayemi

Kayode Fayemi

For Nigeria to succeed in the fight against corruption, it must say no to impunity and eliminate the syndrome of ‘sacred cows’, the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Kayode Fayemi, has said.

He said this on Monday at an event organised by the Inter Agency Task Team, IATT, in collaboration with the European Union, EU, Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption, RoLAC Programme and the United States Embassy. The programme was in commemoration of the 2017 International Anti-Corruption Day held in Abuja.

Mr. Fayemi, who is also the Chairman of the IATT, said ethical codes and procedures must be deployed and enforced to ensure delivery, increase public confidence and get citizens involved in the fight against corruption.

While speaking on the progress of the Muhammadu Buhari administration in the fight against corruption, the minister said the government has instituted several initiatives to recover and apply proceeds of corruption.

According to him, “We have the Whistle Blower policy which has yielded significant dividends; and at the international level, Nigeria has been at the forefront of proposing resolutions on the recovery and return of stolen assets kept in foreign jurisdictions. We have also proposed resolutions to combat illicit financial flows most of which are from developing countries.”

The IATT chairman noted the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, NACS which was adopted by the Federal Executive Council on July 5.

“Nigeria has since return to civil rule, had a strong anti-corruption policy embedded in both the Constitution and several organic laws. This policy has resulted in the creation of the several anti-corruption agencies we have today.

“However, this is the first time the policy is being translated into a strategic blueprint which provides entry point for all strata of society to contribute to the fight against corruption.

“The NACS has five pillars which speak to the international good practices for combating corruption as well as local peculiarities. They are: Prevention of corruption; enforcement and sanctions; public engagement; ethical reorientation and recovery of proceeds of corruption,” he said.

He also noted that it is a key policy of the government to deprive the corrupt of the benefits of their crime and ensure restitution to the citizens as well as the government.

Other solutions to corruption he proffered were for laws to be effectively and efficiently implemented and dissuasive sanctions imposed; for corruption to be tackled from the roots and the closing of doors to illicit activities before they happen; for anti-corruption agencies to be adequately funded to engage with mutating effects of corruption and for the government to demonstrate its commitment to its people through leadership by example.

Meanwhile, the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, who was represented by Akingbolahan Adeniran, his special Adviser on Rule of Law, at the event stressed the government’s progress in the area of asset recovery, the Treasury Single Account, TSA, as well as the increase in public sector remittances.

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