BY BODE GBADEBO
President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, has described members of the National Assembly as “genuine anti-corruption fighters”.
Lawan made the remarks when he inaugurated the Nigeria’s chapter of the Global Organisation of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC) on Tuesday in Abuja.
“The first Assembly (in 1999) created Indepedent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) probably the first by the then National Assembly. We created Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). We created National Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) out of EFCC. What more can one say?
“Is there anyone that is better in fighting corruption than we are? So, we are genuinely anti-corruption fighters and we go all the way,” Lawan said.
The inauguration of GOPAC, he said had reinforced the government anti-corruption campaign, the importance of transparency and accountability to good governance.
He said, “corruption leads to waste, and the retardation of growth, because illegal diversion of resources prevents development, as it takes away opportunities for people-oriented projects.
“Realising the negative impact of corruption, the present administration made the fight against corruption one of its cardinal programmes.
“The government has subsequently been forthcoming in its anti-corruption drives, even though a lot more still has to be done, because of its systemic nature.
“Anti-corruption efforts should however permeate the dimensions of our governance sectors, which is why it is a welcome development to have a global outlook of parliamentarians focusing on anti-corruption.”
The Senate President said parliamentarians in Nigeria see GOPAC as a veritable tool to aid the anti-graft war of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Lawan said, “as legislators at all levels, we are expected to synergize and strengthen our democracy and to ensure that the rule of law is upheld through this group.
“As a step towards this, we will be presenting the 9th Senate Legislative Anti-Corruption Strategy (LACS 2021) which is a document that outlines stages to success in the anti-corruption fight.”
In his address, the chairman of the Senate Committee on anti-corruption, Senator Suleiman Audu Kwari said GOPAC was formed essentially to ensure the full implementation of United Nations convention on corruption which Nigeria was a signatory.
Kwari, who is the chairman of Nigerian chapter of GOPAC, said corruption has become a global problem that must be fought within that context.
“We have developed strategies to combat corruption and set the requisite platforms to implement the various legislative reforms and processes that we consider essential,” he said.
Highlights of the event included the presentation of certificate of fight against corruption to the Senate President by the GOPAC chairman, and presentation of goodwill messages by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Mohammed, heads of anti-corruption agencies and the chairman of GOPAC Worldwide and Speaker of Qatar Assembly, Abdulhadi Saeed.