10 December 2018

Nigeria: Buhari Unveils ABC of Anti-Corruption Fight

Lagos, Abuja and Kaduna — President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday revealed what he called the "ABC of fighting corruption."He made the disclosure during the launch of the Africa Youth Congress Against Corruption (AYCAC 2018) at the State House, Abuja.

The event coincided with the International Anti-Corruption Day.The president has made the fight against sleaze a key point of his administration's agenda and this resulted in his naming as champion of the African Union (AU) theme of the year - "Winning the Fight Against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa's Transformation" in January this year in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital.

In his adresss, he said: "Let me share with you what I believe are the A, B, C of fighting corruption:"A" stands for ACTION. Let us all move from talk to action. I urge you to develop tangible projects in your communities to instill transparency and accountability of the highest standards.

"B" stands for BUILDING BRIDGES. The youths have a unique opportunity to spearhead the building of inter-generational and cross-sectoral bridges in our various communities. Often, fighting corruption requires partnerships with unlikely allies. Be open to exploring constructive partnerships with a wide base of actors.

"C" stands for CULTURE. So, let us cultivate and equip ourselves with African culture, right attitude and mindset change that will enable us to stand firmly against corruption. By so doing, accountability and change will begin with you and me."

Appreciating continental leaders, Buhari noted: "The anti-corruption year of the African Union has been long and demanding. The year has also been filled with sharing of great lessons, promises and inspirations as well as some success stories on our journey to winning the fight against the evil of corruption."He continued: "To the young people of Africa, this fight against corruption is yours to lead and to win in order to reverse the negative trends of corruption and its implications for Africa.

"The youths must pool their energies to effectively ensure that our natural and mineral resources remain on the continent for value addition, job and wealth creation as well as to create affordable health-care and quality education for our people. Winning the fight against corruption is very much in your hands."

In his remarks, the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, regretted the rampant nature of the malaise on the continent, urging action to stem the tide.He said since Buhari was nominated as Africa's chief anti-graft czar, the president had displayed and would continue to exhibit his aversion to the sordid trend in Nigeria.

To take the crusade to the next level, Magu stated that the support of youth was critical. Meanwhile, the president will today present a report of the nation's corruption risk assessment on e-Government systems.The Acting Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC), Dr. Musa Usman Abubakar, made the disclosure during a press briefing at the weekend in Abuja.He explained that the document was a product of the commission to safeguard the payment system from sleaze.

However, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) yesterday charged the Federal Government to adopt proactive measures in its anti-graft crusade. In a statement by its president, Paul Usoro (SAN) to mark the 15th International Anti-Corruption Day, the body warned that the fight must not be perceived to be selective or discriminatory.

It noted that corruption is multi-faceted even though attention was mostly on immoral financial and economic practices. NBA stressed that the EFCC lacked the locus standi to meddle in client-lawyer contractual relationship.In a communiqué issued at the end of its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja, the association insisted that the fees being paid by a client to his lawyer were not only a matter of privilege but also contractual.

Usoro said the stance followed a report he forwarded to the anti-graft agency in respect of the criminal charges filed against him by the Federal Government.Besides, Arewa chieftain and leader of the Northern Elders' Forum (NEF), Professor Ango Abdullahi, has blamed the rife graft in the land on the presidential system of government, warning that the development poses a serious threat to the nation's nascent democracy.

He told reporters at the weekend in Zaria as part of activities to mark his 80th birthday that unless the parliamentary model was adopted, democratic activities would remain endangered.The elder statesman asserted that contrary to insinuations that the North was averse to restructuring, the region, indeed, "stands to benefit more."

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