Nigeria’s Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, on Saturday in Lagos called for the prosecution of those he described as “detractors” in the fight against corruption in the country.
Mr. Soyinka made the call at the opening of his Vision of the Child Art Exhibition, 2017 edition, at Freedom Park, Lagos with the theme: Enhance the Heritage; Advance the Future, in celebrating Lagos at 50.
He said most times, the anti-corruption agency was sent on the wrong track or wild goose chase, resulting to no prosecution.
“When we talk about corruption, is it not time we legislate against detractors, who deliberately create distraction. Say for instance, the money just found in Lagos.
‘‘One governor claimed that the money belongs to his state government, claiming a proceed from the sale of some turbines and so on.
‘‘It is a criminal act of distraction. He knew very well that he was lying, that the money was not his, but belongs to someone else.”
The governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, had claimed that the money found in an Ikoyi apartment belonged to his state. He claimed the money was stashed by his predecessor, Rotimi Amaechi.
‘‘Obviously, acting in the interest of those accused of corruption, that to me is connivance and collaboration with corrupt people,” Mr. Soyinka said.
‘‘I think such people should be criminalised by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).”
Mr. Soyinka, who commended the art works of the children, expressed the hope that with children exposing the corruption acts of the adults Nigeria would be in for better days.
Speaking , the acting chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, said the commission’s operation was not limited to investigation and prosecution of offenders, but also to enlightening the public on the dangers of corruption.
Mr. Magu said the painting exhibition was one way to educate and enlighten people about corruption, stressing that the paintings exposed some ways in which adults were involved in corrupt practices.
“My views of the Nigerian child, from across the plains, the hills, the forests and the swamps of Nigeria are those of innocence and boundless creativity.
‘‘However, like most of the older generation, many of our youths seem also to be trapped in cocoons of corruption, which have built around them.
“However, Professor Soyinka’s ‘Vision of the Child’ project and the sheer breadth and depth of these paintings by these youngsters, demonstrate very well that our children have an acute awareness of what is going on around them and are breaking free of the shackles of corruption.
“They also show the determination of the younger generation for their voices to be heard.
‘‘The uncomfortable questions they are asking us are; how and why did we allow this beautiful country to be turned into the cesspit of corruption?
“These paintings speak to all strata of our society and to every flank of the war against corruption and the common message I see running through all of them is: we will never give up on the ideals of a just and equitable society.
“The vision I see so eloquently expressed in these wonderful pieces of art is that of the irrepressible Nigerian spirit, refusing to be put down and reaching out for the Nigeria of our collective dreams: the Nigeria where our commonwealth is used for our common good and not looted by a few greedy, self-centred lot.
“I can confirm to you that corruption is already fighting back.
‘‘But, even though massive resources have been deployed to fight back at EFCC, we draw strength and encouragement to carry on from the likes of these children and Prof Wole Soyinka.
‘‘We draw the courage to soldier on from millions of ordinary Nigerians whose desires are for equity and social justice,” he said.
Mr. Magu said the EFCC was not personal in the discharge of its mandate, saying its personnel only fear God, with the guiding principles by the Rule of Law and the overriding interest of the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that 38 students selected from different schools, participated in literary and painting works at the exhibition. (NAN)
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