Int’l anti-corruption day: Falana, HEDA knock Buhari, APC over anti-graft war

Success Nwogu

Human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, and the Executive Chairman, Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre), Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, have said the avowed anti-corruption of President Muhammadu Buhari and his ruling party, the All Progressives Congress, was futile.

They spoke in Lagos on Thursday during the public presentation of ‘Compendium of 100 high profile corruption cases in Nigeria,’ organised by HEDA supported by MacArthur Foundation.

Falana said: “It is doubtful that the Buhari regime has not abandoned the fight against corruption completely because you are all aware some people are standing trial or being charged for corruption of about N5 billion to N10 billion and are rushing to the APC and as one of the leaders of APC once said, ‘come to us, join us so that your offences can be forgiven, we can drop charges against you.

”In other cases, agreements have been reached between the Attorney General and people standing trial for very grave corruption charges and based on such agreement, the cases have been terminated.”

Suraju said the Buhari’s administration anti-corruption fight had not been impressive.

He said: “The fight against corruption under this administration has been like a flip-flop which is like good steps forward but several steps backwards.

You will see where the anti-corruption agencies are struggling to effect some potential possible changes, and you experience, especially, with the office of the Attorney General in particularly undermining the cases, not only withdrawing some of the high profile corruption cases because the suspects are members of the ruling party but also to the extent of engaging in practices that are unbecoming of not only government but a government that is claiming to be fighting corruption.”

Executive Secretary, Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption, Prof Sadiq Isah Radda, said the Federal Government had been doing its best to fight corruption.

He, however, said the efforts had been unsatisfactory.

He called for collaborative efforts of all the arms of government, the three tiers of government, civil society organisations and the entire Nigerians for the anti-graft war to be effective.

According to him, there will be more efforts to fight corruption in 2022.

He said: “Nigeria has made very little progress in the fight against corruption which means we have some progress but there is a lot of work to be done. There is a lot of work to be done; it is not the responsibility of the lawyers, CSOs, the government, the ICPC, EFCC alone.

It is the responsibility of everybody. We have to work together, civil society organisations, the government, and anti-corruption agencies to ensure that we tackle the problem of corruption.

We are doing the little effort we can at the Federal Government level. It is not satisfactory, we can do more. But can we have the state and LG to at least, do what is being done at the FG level?

“If you read the report two weeks ago, Nigeria has been accused of allowing terrorism financing. This is simply because there is no collaboration between NFIU, EFCC, ICPC and the police.

The report did not accurately capture what is happening in Nigeria but because the anti-corruption agencies are not working in sync and are not collaborating as some of them have turned the fight against corruption as a business.”

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Ihesiulo Grace

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