…stresses need for a graft-free public sector, judiciary
President Muhammadu Buhari has called on all arms of government to deploy the resources of the nation to the common needs of the people rather than the greed of ‘a callous few.’
The President made this call at the 2nd National Summit on Diminishing Corruption and launch of the National Ethics and Integrity Policy, organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) at the Presidential Villa yesterday. Buhari also stressed the need for a corruption-free public sector as well as a judicial system that dispenses justice without undue delay and technicality.
The President maintained that all citizens must join hands to fight corruption and return the nation to traditional values of honesty and integrity. According to him, the National Ethics and Integrity Policy projects government’s aspiration for rediscovery of cherished traditional ethical values of honesty, integrity, hardwork, truth, justice, unity, faith and consideration for one another, irrespective of status or background.
“We need a judicial system that dispenses justice without undue delay and technicality. “We need laws and legal system to be reformed to deliver justice to every citizen without regard to status. We also need ethical re-orientation of the people to achieve this goal.
“When we work together against corruption, we can defeat it,” he said. Insisting that nobody must be left behind in the fight against corruption, Buhari expressed delight over the recognition and participation of young Nigerians and non-state actors, especially the media and civil society, at the ICPC event. The President lauded the preventive measures, public education and enlightenment put in place against corruption by the government.
According to him, the Federal Government, through the Open Treasury initiative, TSA, GIFMIS, BVN and many more, is implementing different corruption prevention measures to track and retain government revenue for the use of the people. He commended the ICPC for its enforcement and prevention measures, including system review of capital and personnel budget, regular analysis of the open treasury platform, enforcement action against diversion and mismanagement of public funds.
The President also lauded the commission for working with FIRS to increase the number of companies and persons within the tax net, tracking of constituency project budget utilisation for the benefit of ordinary Nigerians, and its monitoring of implementation of budget by the Executive in key sectors like agriculture sector.
Buhari, who inaugurated the National Ethics and Integrity Policy book titled: “ICPC AND THE WAR AGAINST CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA: REFLECTIONS FOR A NEW VISION”, and six other publications, commended the ICPC for documenting its work, achievements and recommendations to government. The president recalled how he fought corruption when he was military head of state, saying: “As military Head of State, I fought corruption headlong and held public officers, who abused their office or misused public funds, to account.
“Furthermore, I introduced the War Against Indiscipline (WAI), one of whose cardinal objectives was promotion of our cherished culture of ethical conduct, integrity and hard work. “I recognised in 1984, as I do even more now, that corruption poses a clear danger to Nigeria, so, we cannot relent in efforts to eradicate it from our society.
As I have often reminded Nigerians, ‘If we do not kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria.’ “In my inaugural Speech in 2015, I affirmed the determination of this administration to rebuild and reform the public service to become more effective and serviceable. “I charged public servants to apply themselves with integrity to stabilize the system and solicited the cooperation of the Legislative arm to maintain their brief of making laws and carrying out oversight functions.”
In his remarks, President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, stressed the need for stronger collaboration among all tiers of government in fighting corruption. He said: “The emphasis is to ensure that all hands are on deck. First of all, without the legislature, there wouldn’t have been the ICPC.”
The Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Tanko Mohammed, reiterated the readiness of the judiciary to contribute its own quota in the fight against corruption. According to him, the judiciary is ever poised to deploy every relevant legal tool at its disposal to whittle down the strength of corruption in the country. “No nation can survive with corruption at the centre of her conscience,” he stressed