The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) yesterday raised the alarm over the diversion of public funds. ICPC Chairman, Prof. Bolaji Owasannoye, raised the alarm at a two-day capacity- building workshop for members of the House of Representatives Committee on Anti-corruption in Abuja. He frowned on the diversion of public funds, both in revenue receipts and expenditure, while condemning illicit financial flow, misapplication of funds and budget padding. Owasannoye said it was time corruption was confronted headlong, adding that Nigerians were yet to recognise the death knell that corruption meant. He warned that if citizens did not deal with the ethical issues of corruption, it would further impact neg-atively on the country.
Owasannoye noted that Nigerian was never in short supply of anti-corruption legislation but in short supply of integrity. He noted also that this had been worsened by high level hypocrisy. According to him, the CBN, the Bureau of Public Procurement and the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, are all anti-corruption gate-keepers. Owasannoye observed that corruption accentuated political patronage and encouraged sabotage of governance, stressing that funds appropriated on paper were never used for the purpose for which they were meant. In his remarks, Rep. Shehu Garba, Chairman of the committee, noted that the challenge and the fight against corruption had remained a topical issue. He said that the ills of corruption had been well documented, adding that Nigerians did not need to be reminded of the consequences. Garba added that corruption denied citizens a promising future and development, adding that it was heart-warming when the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration made the fight against corruption one of its tasks. In his contribution, Prof. Abubakar Suleiman, Director-General, National Institute for Legislative Studies commended the National Assembly for the continuous building of staff capacity.
This, he said, had reflected in the 9th Assembly, especially in the way it took the issue of the fight against corruption seriously. He added that the workshop was important as the current Federal Government administration winds down. Suleiman stressed that corruption also fuelled instability and conflicts. He noted that there had been allegations of nonpayment of allowances of security operatives, which according to him, undermines the fight against insecurity. “Corruption undermines security and human capacity development,” he stressed. Marija Peran, the Resident Representative, Konrad- Adenauer-Stiftung, a German political foundation, decried the complex security challenges and corruption in the security sector. She said that corruption in the security sector had a detrimental impact, both on security apparatuses and on wider peace and security. Peran said the German foundation’s core mandate was to strengthen good democratic governance and the rule of law, adding that the fight against corruption was an integral part of its mandate.