Former Appeal Court president, Justice Issa Ayo Salami, has condemned the growing level of corruption in Nigeria.
He warned that the country is heading for a doom if it fails in its fight against corruption in the polity.
Similarly, the auditor-general of the federation (AGF), Mr.Anthony Ayine, said that corruption, a global phenomenon, had become endemic in Nigeria, as an estimated $2.6 trillion was stolen through corruption yearly.
Ayine attributed the figure to the United Nations (UN).
At the national conference and annual general meeting of the Committee of Heads of Internal Audit Departments/Units in Nigerian Universities (CHIADINU) held at Kwara State University (KWASU), Malete yesterday, Justice Salami feared that Nigeria was at a threshold of monumental disaster if drastic measures were not taken to “avoid the holocaust” that corruption could bring.
In his key note address, the retired jurist, charged government at all levels and individuals to promote the culture of high regard for dignity of labour and integrity.
He lamented that the sense of integrity was being eroded from professionalism, stressing that “one’s job and integrity are inseparable and should not be separated because the moment professionalism is compromised, it (the profession) becomes in most cases, ineffective.
“May I ask which of the professions is being practised in Nigeria with due integrity? Certainly, there’s none. I want to say at the risk of repetition but for the purpose of emphasis that Nigeria is heading for doom if it fails to drastically deal with the chronic disease of lack of integrity in the practice of the professions. To my mind, all are practised with impunity and damning consequences.
“All virtues such courage, truthfulness, dutifulness, hard work, brilliance, skilfulness, productivity, and competence are universal principles. In the same vein, their opposites such as stealing, idleness, falsehood, laziness, betrayal of trust, smart practices, incompetence and recklessness stand condemnable anywhere in the world. Nigeria cannot be an exception.
“I appeal to you to value your names as you do your jobs more than anything else, and consider what history, not what people, would say about you before taking any action. Do not be carried away by the fact that our system is porous and so your misdemeanour may not be easily or readily uncovered. Remember that a day would come when what is hidden will be unearthed,” Salami warned.
In his paper titled: “Fight Against Corruption: The role of internal auditors, Ayine observed that corruption is a major governance challenge in Nigeria.
He said that corruption, a global phenomenon, had become endemic in Nigeria, as an estimated $2.6 trillion was stolen through corruption every year- a sum equivalent to more than five per cent of the Global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to the UN.
Ayine said: “The effects of corruption to the socioeconomic and political system of the country and the attendant poverty and misery it imposes on the citizenry have been so depressing over the years. This prompted the establishment of institutions such as the Independent Corrupt Persons and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC), the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), and the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).”
He said that if the audit function had worked well, there would not have been any need for all these additional anti-corruption agencies.”