18 May 2018

Nigeria: Prof Wole Soyinka Urges Nigeria's Anti-Corruption Body to Arrest Corrupt Leaders

Nigeria's anti-corruption body has been criticised by the public for its perceived soft stance on political actors. Nobel Laureate Prof Wole Soyinka recently addressed the 8th Commonwealth Conference for Heads of Anti-Corruption Agencies, and urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to arrest corrupt leaders.

In 2015, Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari was voted into office on the basis of his strong anti-corruption promise. Nigerians were tired of the corrupt antics of the then ruling party the People's Democratic Party (PDP) which had been in power for 16 years.

A major defender of democracy, Prof Wole Soyinka addressed a conference of heads of anti-corruption agencies from Africa, in Abuja. Prof Soyinka visited the headquarters of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and was quoted saying, "I am not a vengeful person, but I think that until we make sure that some of our leaders pass through those doors, this struggle against corruption in this country will not be won."

Prof Soyinka echoes the sentiments of many Nigerians who haven't seen the effects of the war against corruption. President Buhari, while campaigning in 2015 popularly said, "If we (Nigerians) don't kill corruption, corruption will kill us." Despite large sums of monies recovered from looters, there has been little action on the prosecution of corrupt officials, particularly powerful political actors. Corruption is considered the major hindrance of development across all sectors in Nigeria.

Heads of 19 anti-corruption agencies were gathered in Nigeria for the 8th Commonwealth Conference for Heads. Corruption in Nigeria has been a major problem among the myriads of challenges the country is facing. There has been a number of arrests made a result of the EFCC's work, no notable politician has been imprisoned for corrupt practices.

Nigeria was ranked 148 out of 180 in the 2017 Corruption Perception Index released by Transparency International (TI) in February this year. The ranking indicated that there was no progress made in the fight against corruption.

The EFCC has been accused of hasty investigations, lack of strong exhibits, and undue publicity of high-profile cases by the media. The EFCC and the Nigerian government is under pressure to show its seriousness in the prosecution of top government officials facing allegations of corruption.


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