By Chimezie Godfrey
A financial expert and President, Forensic Insight International Limited, Mr Tunji Aworinde, says President Buhari has done better than previous governments in the fight against corruption in Nigeria.
Aworinde who made the commendation on Wednesday in Abuja at the 5th Annual Conference on “Financial Crime, Cross Border Crime and Illicit Substance Abuse, however, said that there is still more to be done.
He admitted that corruption cannot be eradicated but stressed that implementation of the right policies will make it difficult for it to thrive.
According to him, corruption is one of those sins that are part of humanity and corruption in Nigeria is substantially in the public service…
He maintained that to contain or combat the menace of corruption there must be effective and adequate check and balances that make it difficult for people to loot the treasury.
Aworinde added that there must also be sufficient punishment to deter the corrupt from continuing to loot the nation’s treasury.
“So in a sense it is an illusion to suggest that we can eradicate corruption. It is like suggesting that we can eradicate adultery, theft or stealing.
“To combat corruption, we must put system and processes in place, campaign against corruption, reorientate society on issues of transparency, integrity and this are means that could help to contain corruption, he said.
“The present government have to be applauded because they are going further than the previous governments in the fight against corruption.
“We need implementation of policies, for instance, we have a national strategy document against corruption. If this document was implemented to the letter, we would have had less incidences of corruption in the land,” he said.
He decried the fact that there are legislations and practices that encourage corruption in the land, such as the immunity clause and security vote which is not audited – which governors have discretion in its spending.
According to him, these are public funds and public funds are subject to transparency and accountability.
He stressed that there must be audit of security votes and all public funds that are being disbursed by individuals notwithstanding the status of the persons involved.
Aworinde also stressed that the rule of law should be applied to everyone regardless of their status, political standing or societal standing.
“Everyone should be subject to the same law, there should a behavioural change that we are clamouring for and value system these will help us to mitigate corruption to the barest minimum.
In the same vain, the Acting Chairman of EFCC, Mohammed Abba represented by the Head Planning, EFCC, Mr Eze Johnson said at the core of combating corruption is behavioural change.
“We are saying that Nigeria is our own and if we don’t save it nobody will.
“It is a collective responsibility that we save our country just like our family that corruption can be tackle by political will, i mean everybody be determine to resist it,”he stressed.
Also, the Comptroller General, Nigerian Custom Service(NCS) Col. Hammed Ali (Rtd) represented by Adekunle Oloyede of the Risk Management Department, NCS, said that corruption is beyond the physical exchange of cash.
“We see corruption as only exchange of physical cash, you maybe chiting government over revenune, miscalculation of duties, these are corruption.
“That is why government is also interested in automation of the system, and that is why they signed the e-custom projects which would automate end-to-end all the whole processes of custom both to the revenue and export.
“This would give us good statistical data for budgetary and economic planning,” he said.