The Executive Secretary, Presidential Adivsory Committee Against Corruption ( PACAC ) , Prof. Sadiq Radda has charged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to beam more search light on states and local government areas in the war against corruption.
Prof. Radda noted that both the states and local government areas in the country have not shown interest in the fight against corruption of the federal government.
He said this at the 24th Anti- Corruption Situation Room with the theme “increasing Transparency and Participation in the Implementation of the Social Investment Programme, held in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.
He also revealed that the federal government while making giant strides in the fight against corruption, recovered N900 billion through the ICPC from federal lawmakers being misappropriated money from constituency projects.
He said for the anti-corruption war to be successful and impactful, the other tiers of government should be involved.
“Corruption is not only perpetuated at the federal government level but at all the tiers of government and it only make sense for both the states and local governments to create machineries to wage war on corruption,” Radda said.
He said until the judiciary is willing to truly support the fight against corruption, the nation would only be scathing the surface.
Prof. Radda said:” Law is the most conservative in any part of the world, judges and lawyers pretend to be pro-change but they are not.
“You can suggest reforms but they will maintain the status quo because it benefits the elites. So you can do the homework but those who would implement it are entirely a different matter.”
He lambasted those criticizing the present anti-corruption war of the government as being selective, saying that the onus is for the accused to prove he was innocent and never to weep up sentiment.
He noted that the present political dispensation cannot be blamed for having alleged corrupt politicians occupying political offices as long as the law continue to state “innocent until proven guilty.”
He said this cannot be changed until the system insist that the onus of proving one’s innocence is on the accused and not on the government to prove the accused beyond reasonable doubt.
Also speaking, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, the Head, Human Rights Project at Human and Environmental Development Agenda, the organizer of the programme, urged Nigerians to scrutinize the figures touted around in the country.
Suraju noted that many figures from the states are for political gains to shortchange the system.
He said:” Go to the states to find the number of students in primary schools, you will be surprised to get different figures to different sources from the same government.
“There will be different figure to get money from federal government, different figure to get money from UBEC, different figure to pay salary to teachers and these are figures that is necessary to implement programmes of this nature.
“Trust politicians for who they are. It is the same problem with them. It is not just for the benefit of the people, it is just for political mileage, for political interest and many times, it is for the financial benefit that is derived from it.
“So it is the journalists, the civil society and the citizens that will need to start taking them up on those figures. Once we do not challenge them and make them get away with it, it is going to be very difficult to have a change in the system”, he noted.
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