Former chairperson of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu, has advocated for the establishment of a central data centre and beneficial ownership register as an anti-money laundering measure to check corruption.
For holistic fight against corruption, he said, there was also the need to develop a comprehensive national charter with clear goals, responsibilities and indicators applicable to each of Nigeria’s federating unit.
These are among suggestions proposed by Mr Ribadu at a convocation lecture delivered at the Federal University Dutsin-ma, Katsina state, on Friday.
Mr Ribadu who spoke on the topic “Fight against Corruption in Nigeria: Challenges and Prospects for Sustainability” said new methods have to be evolved to deepen the tempo of the fight against corruption.
Underscoring the importance of data in the fight against corruption, the pioneer EFCC chairman said without comprehensive directory of residents, the government cannot successfully address corruption and insecurity.
He said though various agencies collect data from citizens, such data is not being properly utilized in a central hub to address major issues.
“Data centre, which will house a beneficial ownership register, is the most important modern tool of following money, tracking transactions and information sharing among law enforcement and other agencies of government.
“The authorities should be able to have their fingertips on details of basic information of all citizens as well as records of financial transactions, tax records, assets, crime history, physical addresses and movements,” he said.
Mr Ribadu also advocated a common national charter on the fight against corruption that brings in on stakeholders and established responsibilities of all units of governance.
“For all this time, the fight against corruption and institutionalisation of probity and transparency have remained largely a federal government affair. Yes, by our unitary police arrangement, the federal government is responsible for law enforcement.
“The charter should outline specific requirements, responsibilities, commitments and performance indicators. Governors and other persons manning the subnational structures should also lead by example in their conduct,” he said.
Flush the judiciary
The first step, he however said, is cleaning up of the judicial system by flushing out those who contribute to travesty of justice.
“There would only be limited or no success in anti-corruption campaign if the justice system is not properly sanitised to shoulder that important responsibility. Some steps have been taken in the past in this regard, but going forward, a more holistic and strategic approach has to be adopted to ensure maximum impact and meaningful result.
“Every individual within the chain of the justice sector needs to be above board, those who cannot uphold the basic tenets of integrity needed for such job should be shoved aside,” he added.
The former EFCC boss also called for cleaner electoral process devoid of malpractice which, he said, sow seeds of corruption in the polity.
He charged Nigerians to support anticorruption agencies instead of siding with the corrupt elements in the society.
“It is good to be critical, and even circumspect, but it should not be an excuse for cynicism. Quite often, we see persons casting aspersions on law enforcement agencies unjustifiably, making themselves inadvertent corruption cheerleaders and advocates of the corrupt.”
In a short welcome remarks, the acting vice chancellor of the university, Adamu Baba-Kutigi, said the topic was chosen in view of its centrality in contemporary national discourse.
“We are lucky to have Nuhu Ribadu here. We are happy that you have agreed to come and address us on this topic,” he said.