Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has applauded leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, for joining the ongoing anti-corruption campaign in the country.
Mr. Osinbajo gave the commendation when leaders of the NLC and TUC visited him and jointly presented an 18-point demand to the Federal Government.
While calling on all Nigerians to continue to support the fight against corrupt practices in the society, the acting President reassured that government would continue to ensure due process and rule of law in the fight against corruption.
“I really want to commend the NLC and the TUC for seeing the need to fight corruption and for seeing the need for good governance especially for the campaign you have undertaken.
“There is no question that the rule of law is important. Sometimes in government’s efforts you find infringement of the rule of law. But it takes a strong system to be able to see those problems and resolve them.
“But I want to say to you that the government is very committed to ensuring the process of the rule of law.
“The President, I’m sure that many of us may know, is a process-driven person of the rule of law.”
The members of the NLC and TUC had on Thursday staged a peaceful protest around the federal secretariat, near the Presidential Villa, Abuja, in a show of support for the ongoing campaign against corruption and the promotion of good governance.
The acting president frowned at the situation where some Nigerians used ethnic or geo-political sentiments to cover up their corrupt practices.
According to him, it is wrong for anybody or group to use religion or primordial sentiments in justifying misappropriation or stealing of public funds.
“The kind of comments you get sometimes, `aah, it is a witch hunt only these people are being punished, only that is being punished’ if evidence points to you, you should not have the excuse that you are being witch hunted.
“Today, if you steal N10,000, let’s even say you steal a goat in the market, when they catch you and deal with you, you are not going to be able to argue that is because you are a Yoruba man or from the Southwest that is why I was caught, no.
“The person whose chicken or goat you have stolen is not going to listen to your story even if you are from his local government area or his town and that is the way we should look at this issue of the fight against corruption,
“I believe that we have a very serious battle in our hands and that if we don’t win that battle this country will never get on to the path of sustainable development.”
Mr. Osinbajo, who described corruption as a serious problem, maintained that the looting of the nation’s resources remained a major problem the country had suffered.
According to him, the problem of corruption must be addressed if the country must achieve sustainable development.
He said: “The major problem that this country has suffered so far is the looting of its resources, that is a major problem.
“We are investigating $15billion in defence contracts. External reserve is $30billion that is almost half of the external reserve of the country.
“How does any country survive when that is going on. But it is so easy to say let us fight corruption… aah why is life so hard? Why are things so hard?’’
Earlier, the President of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba, said they were in the presidential villa to present 18-point demands to the federal government.
He commended the efforts of the President Buhari-led administration aimed at ensuring a corrupt-free society.
Mr. Wabba, however, said the anti-corruption fight should go down to the state and local government levels to check diversion of public funds by some government officials.