New ICPC Chairman, Bolaji Owasanoye, speaking with State House correspondents after the inauguration of the new board by President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday.
President Muhammadu Buhari has said some agencies of government still divert or refuse to fully account for revenue generated despite his government’s anti-corruption drive.
Mr Buhari said this Monday when he inaugurated the new board of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).
He did not give the names of the defaulting agencies and did not indicate whether there were plans to sanction officials responsible for the diversion.
Previous government records have shown that trillions of naira have been lost in the last decade to diversions by government agencies or their refusal to remit generated funds.
The ICPC inauguration was done Monday afternoon inside the council chamber of the State House.
The board is headed by the immediate past secretary of the Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption, Bolaji Owasanoye.
Speaking shortly after the inauguration, Mr Buhari said the appointment of the new board was the continuation of his administration’s fight against corruption.
Mr Buhari said the fight against corruption is very crucial in Nigeria’s national development, adding “this is why I have often said – if we do not kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria”.
The president said apart from deliberate and wanton looting of national wealth and common patrimony, corruption has eroded the values and ethical foundation of Nigeria as a nation.
“Corruption has negatively affected our political, economic and social life. Those opposed to our fight against corruption berate us for our focus, determination and single mindedness.
“They pretend that they do not know what corruption is. But Nigerians know what corruption is. Ordinary people know what corruption is and they support our effort and determination to fight it,” he said.
He expressed delight that the ICPC law under which the new board will operate is robust enough to assist government to sanitise the public sector of corruption.
Revenue diversion still rampant
Mr Buhari said despite his anti-corruption drive, “some agencies of government still divert or refuse to fully account for revenue generated”.
He said rather than obey constitutional provisions and extant rules and regulations, such agencies continue as if nothing has changed.
He vowed that he is determined to ensure that every agency of government account for public revenue generated or expended.
“I am looking forward to ICPC’s support both for enforcement of anti-corruption laws and submission of policy measures and directives to prevent revenue leakage and diversion.
“In this regard, I urge you to collaborate with other government agencies such as the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation towards mitigating wrong-doing in public expenditure.
“Furthermore, I look forward to receiving anti-corruption recommendations linked to e-Government standards and principles.
“As the old saying goes – “Prevention is better than cure”. Your statutory mandate recognizes this principle. Therefore, I encourage you to come up with strong preventive policy measures and strategies for government’s endorsement to take us to the NEXT LEVEL in the fight against corruption.
“I am aware that the ICPC laws empowers you to make proposals to assist government in this fight,” he said.
Other members of the board who were inaugurated are Grace Chinda, Okolo Titus, Obiora Igwedebia, Olubukola Balogun, Adams Bello, Hannatu Muhammed, Abdullahi Saidu, and Yahaya Dauda.
The ICPC board were approved by the Senate last December, 16 months after they were nominated.
In a short acceptance remarks the board chairman, Mr Owasanoye, said they were lucky to be given the assignment.
He said they were lucky because Mr Buhari is known for having “ unquestionable, unequivocal and unshakable resolve to deal with corruption”.
“Therefore, the political will required to fight corruption is available.
“I pledge on behalf of the commission and members that we will do our best not to disappoint you or disappoint the country,” he said.