President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) has again stressed his determination and resolve to strengthen anti-graft agencies in Nigeria, with the view of ensuring that the war on corruption is fought to a conclusive end.
He made the renewed assertion at the opening ceremony of the maiden training programme of the Network of National Anti-Corruption Institutions in West Africa, NACIWA, which held at the EFCC Academy, Karu, Abuja, on September 28, 2015.
The president, who was represented by the Secretary to the Federal Government, Babachir David Lawal, noted that corruption will always fight back, thus necessitating the need to strengthen various anti-graft agencies in the country.
“We shall strengthen agencies in the country involved in the corruption war,” he said, noting that that the EFCC and other anti-graft agencies in the country had been charged to ramp up the corruption war, and “save us from the scourge of corruption”.
Expressing the resolve of the current administration to ensure that the war against corruption is prosecuted to the letter, he said, “the time to act against corruption is now, and we do not have to wait till when all the resources are in place. It is now.”
His words: “They’ll fight back, indeed, they are already fighting back, but what they don’t know is that there is the will to ensure victory is achieved, because we have to reclaim our stolen wealth.”
President of NACIWA, Issoufou Boureima, while expressing gratitude to the EFCC for playing a pivotal role in the establishment of NACIWA, and for hosting the training which had participants from Republic of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Republic of Niger, Senegal, Togo, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, stressed the need for anti-graft agencies in the sub region to unite in fighting corruption.
While commending the commitment of the EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde, in the fight against corruption and the support of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC, for its unalloyed support, in the creation of NACIWA, he said, “There is need for us to eradicate corruption and deploy every effort in a very sincere manner to check corruption in our society.”
In his remarks, the regional representative of the UNODC, Samuel De-Jaegere, re-echoed the views of Lamorde, noting that it was very important for anti-graft in the region to share knowledge, skills and information in the war against corruption.
“Now that we have NACIWA, which is essential for collaboration among anti-corruption agencies in the sub region, all of us have to work closely to make sure that we win the war against corruption,” he said.
De-Jaegere said the establishment of NACIWA, could not have come at a better time, because, “we need to collaborate to bring those who steal our wealth, flee neighbouring countries with the aim of keeping the ill-gotten wealth abroad.”
Joseph Kamara, chairman, anti-corruption commission in Sierra Leone, reinforced the need for a reinvigorated commitment in fighting corruption. “It’s a heavy burden on us to discharge, and we have to come together to collaborate, because it is not only a necessity, we definitely need to build a stronger network,” he said.
On his part, Brown Odigie, representative of the head, Democracy and Good Governance at the ECOWAS, Eyesan Okorodudu, further stressed the need to achieve the goals of NACIWA.
“We need to ensure that the goal is achieved, and the key objective, is for NACIWA to increase capacity among member states to fight corruption,” he said.
Earlier in his paper titled, West African Law Enforcement Agencies Must Cooperate to Win War on Corruption, Lamorde noted that such professional relationships come in very handy when bureaucratic bottlenecks and red tapes threaten to derail law enforcement activities across jurisdictions.
While noting that corrupt individuals have now taken their crimes beyond border, thus necessitating a need for such collaboration, Lamorde said that there was an urgent need for anti-graft agencies across the West African region to collaborate in their concerted efforts to rid the region of economic and financial crimes.
“We must bear in mind that the criminals that we are after, have no problems whatsoever, forging such cross-jurisdictional operational alliances in order to perpetrate crimes,” he said.
His added: “Crimes in each of our nations today have not only grown in proportion, but in sophistication and criminals now have reaches across national institutions and borders and can even threaten the very existence of some states.”
The anti-graft czar, while commending the creation of NACIWA – a coalition of anti-corruption agencies across the West African sub region, noted that such a body could not have come at a most auspicious time, and that the training will provide participants a veritable platform of networking and sharing of ideas.
Other dignitaries at the opening ceremony included, Ekpo Nta, chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, Sam Saba, chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau, Salawu O. Bello, director operations Nigeria Intelligence Agency, who represented the DG of NIA, A. G. Wobin, a Corp Commander representing the Corp Marshall of the FRSC, and Hycinth Dagala, who represented the Inspector General of Police.