The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has disclosed that it secured a total of 1,500 convictions between 2015 and 2016.
The Commission’s Head, Public Relations (South-South Zone), Mr. Oluwale Oladele, stated this Thursday in Benin, Edo state, while speaking on the topic “Fostering Citizens’ Support for the War Against Corruption in Nigeria: Experience from EFCC” at a forum organized by CLEEN Foundation.
Oluyede, who denied claims that the anti-graft agency was not living up to its mandate and it is also selective in its prosecution of the citizens, noted that with the number of those convicted, the Commission has proved that it is working and proactive.
According to him, the Commission could only be more effective in its fight against corruption when Nigerians join hands to fight corruption by volunteering information to the body that can lead to the arrest and investigation of the individuals.
Also speaking of the keynote address entitled, “Evaluating The Current Anti-corruption Efforts of The Federal Government in Nigeria,” the state Chairman of the Edo State Nigerian Bar Association, Barrister Ede Asenoguan, said corruption festers when those who looted public funds pay back a fragment of the huge sum of money stolen from government’s coffers and thereafter are allowed to walk freely on the streets without forfeiture and adequate sanctioning.
According to him, “If there is no enforcement of stringent sanction against those who looted public funds, the fight against corruption remains a joke.
“For instance, I can assure you that over 80 percent of Nigerians, if given the chance, would prefer to steal N5bn and pay the sum of N5m or to go to jail for six months or one year and later come out to enjoy the balance of the N5bn. Effort must be made that looters should not enjoy or benefit from their loots,” he said.
While commending the Federal Government’s fight against corruption, Asenoguan however said it must not be centred on only the influential people in the country but should cut across board, regardless of whoever is involved.
On his part, Abayomi Akinbo, the Project Manager of Budgit, said the trust and confidence of Nigerians in the administration of President Mohammadu Buhari could only be restored only if monies recovered from those who looted public funds are disclosed and the expenditure made known to the public.
Also speakind on the topic, “Preventing corruption in public administration, citizens engagement for improved transparency and accountability,” Samuel Odebajo, an Assistant Superintendent of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), said though corruption is as old as the creation of the world, it must be prevented from happening due to its multiplying effects on the society.
He said transparency and collective efforts was needed from the citizens to fight corruption, rather than leaving the whole job for a particular body.
Earlier, CLEEN Foundation said the fight against corruption should be a concern to all Nigerians and when this is achieved, it would reduce the level of corruption in the country.
One of the participants, Solomon Idiogbe, described the interactive session as a welcome development as it has afforded them the opportunity to ask questions and be cleared of their doubts about the fight against corruption.
Idogbe added that such a forum should be substained.