…says they’ve stalled reforms in petroleum, power, pension sectors
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), yesterday, disclosed that ‘mafia’ groups with unwholesome interests in different sectors of the economy have been frustrating the fight against corruption in Nigeria. Chairman of the ICPC, Prof Bolaji Owasonoye, stated this in Abuja at the unveiling of “Corruption Tori Season 2”, a programme of the Signature Television and the Mac Arthur Foundation that focuses on special investigative stories on corruption and its impacts on the society. Owasonoye expressed frustration that while the Federal Government and anti-corruption agencies have been making frantic efforts to curb corruption and bring improvements to various sectors of the economy, these clandestine groups have continued to devise other ways and means of frustrating these efforts.
The ICPC boss, who was represented at the event by Hassan Salihu, an Assistant Inspector with the agency, said that the issue of corruption fighting back has remained a common feature as a lot of actors have become clogs in the wheel, fighting reforms designed to bring sanity to both the public and private sectors. “Corruption is fighting back, but it fights back only when it is threatened. When you see corruption fighting back, you know the fight is effective. There are many ways in which corruption is fighting back in Nigeria. It is being spearheaded by both governmental and non-governmental actors.
“You can see the oil mafia fighting the issue of availability of fuel; you can see pension reforms being fought by the pension mafia and you can see that in the telecommunications sector, the mafia will fight any reform meant to fight corruption in that sector. “There are even electricity or power mafias that frustrate the issue of electricity. Those importing generators; you can see them frustrating reforms in the power sector.
“So you have a lot of people that will fight back once the anti-corruption fight is working and effective in the country,” he said. According to him, the Commission has been able to introduce some strategic programmes such as the Constituency Project Tracking Group with which it has been fighting corruption silently and making the necessary impact on the society. Director, Africa Office, Mac Arthur Foundation, Dr Kole Shettima, observed that the prevalence of corruption has robbed Nigeria of many good things including good public infrastructure and access to quality education for children and the young people