The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) in partnership with MacArthur Foundation, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take more proactive measures to fight corruption.
On Wednesday, at the launch of the compiled Analysis of Media Reports on Corruption Cases in Nigeria, Rafsanjani Auwal, the Executive Director of CISLAC, among other stakeholders, expressed serious concerns over the growing corruption despite the efforts of media houses over the years.
In his address, Mr Auwal, said the developmental degradation that the country has witnessed over the years ”is not because the media has not been exposing cases corruption across different sectors in the country but because adequate actions have not been taken against the culprits”.
“Media had reported serious corruption cases in this country. Issues around corruption in the health factor which have made it difficult to access good healthcare and therefore sent many people to their early graves, and yet, people go unpunished,” he said.
He also lamented reduction in the quality of education in the country at all levels despite the fact that most of the country’s leaders benefitted from the system.
Also commenting on the state of the country’s judicial system, he said “corruption in the judiciary sector has made Nigerians to lose confidence in our judicial system because access to justice has been restricted while proper looters with the help of their lawyers will run into court to see that they are not tried.”
“Those cases that our judiciary failed to prosecute these looters, they get prosecuted outside the country. The media reports these cases almost everyday but nothing has been done,” he added.
Mr Auwal accused the government of laxity in the fight against some ‘cabals’ exposed in NEITI audit reports across government parastatals.
“In oil and gas where the country’s little income is coming from, Nigerian Extractive Industry Transperacy Initiative (NEITI) audit reports continue to expose how some power cabals both local and international have continue to siphon money that could have been used for the development of the country.
“The most painful part is that since NEITI has been issuing these reports, there has not been serious legislative intervention to curtail some of the government agencies that have not been remitting what they ought to be remitting into the government purse, nothing has been done till now.
“Many government parastatals and agencies have refused to submit their audit reports. The Auditor General of the Federation, in his report, stated that many of the institutions have failed to submit their audit reports and continue to receive allocation,” he said.
According to the analysis, CISLAC said it tracked over 694 corruption-related news or stories.
Between February and July 2018, the sectoral analysis of media reports on corruption show that 48 per cent of the reviewed reports cover corruption issues relating to private individuals, bank workers, private organisations as well as issues related to the (Sani) Abacha loot.
Meanwhile, Oladayo Olaitan, the representative of MacArthur Foundation, in his recommendation on how to overcome corruption, said Nigerians will continue to be deprived of the dividends of democracy if corruption is only being reported by the media ”without equal holistic approach from the government and its anti-corruption agencies”.
He added that “the fight against corruption requires partnership with the media and every agency in Nigeria” which is the only way to reward the media’s efforts.