Former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC], Mallam Nuhu Ribadu said the amount being budgeted for political office holders as security votes should be stopped.
Ribadu stated this in Abuja while delivering a lecture on “Minimising Corruption in Public Life” at the 2016 annual conference of the Nigerian Institute of Management.
He said the fight against corruption must start from the leader, adding that with a deficient leadership, it would be difficult to achieve the needed results in the fight against graft.
Ribadu said while minimising corruption in the public sector was a big challenge, it should be seen as a national assignment in which all stakeholders must come together to ensure its success.
He said to effectively fight the war against corrupt practices; the issue of transparency must be taken seriously in the conduct of all government businesses from budgeting to the award of contracts and even employment.
Lack of transparency, according to him, is the first thing that sows the seed of corruption.
He said, “Corruption is a major impediment to our progress as it deprives us of our tomorrow even before the day breaks.
“It is stealing from us, denying us what we are entitled to and stealing from our children by leaving for them a hopeless future.
“Yet, the cancerous virus of corruption is inherent in most of us.
“It is the temptation to make free money, or use influence to gain undue favour or influence.
“Leadership is everything when it comes to tackling corruption in public life.
“It is the leader, whether political or administrative, that can set the tune for others to follow.
“A leader with soiled hands has no moral basis to question his subordinates or followers.
“And when the leader is involved in dirty deals it becomes a free for all.
“For leaders to set this example, there should be practical steps that will change the ways of doing things for the better.
“Ostentatious lifestyle by leaders evinces a feeling of extravagance and corruption.
“There is no reason, for example, why we should continue to see the long motorcades for both elected and appointed leaders.
“Leaders who receive huge sums of money in security votes and live in cosy government houses do not exude the needed seriousness to match words with action when it comes to fight against corruption.”
The former EFCC boss also advocated the deployment of technology in the procurement process in fighting corruption.
This, he added, would allow transparency and accountability in the conduct of government businesses.
He said cash transactions should be completely abolished or minimised, adding that it would be easier to track electronic transactions as opposed to cash.
In fighting corruption in the electoral system, he said, “We should weed out corruption in our electoral process.”
Ribadu also called for reduction in administrative bottlenecks.
He said subsidies should also be phased out by the government to stop all the haemorrhage and abuse.
“As a discretionary intervention, subsidy on whatever service or product is very much prone to corruption by both the beneficiaries and those managing it, as we have seen with the petroleum subsidy in this country,” he added.
Ribadu added that for the war against corruption to succeed, Nigerians must stop celebrating criminals.
He said, “There should also be the will to apply the sanctions.
“As I have pointed out several times, lack of will by the political leadership to prosecute the war against corruption takes us to nowhere.
“The political leadership should be determined and it should be seen to be serious about it.”
He also said all government expenditures should be budgeted, adding that extra-budgetary spending should be criminalised and “security votes should be completely phased out.”
He stated, “Honesty has to be lifted to the position of a prized and rewarding national value.
“Criminals should not be celebrated as heroes on account of their wealth,” he noted.
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