Over the years and even till date, corruption has been a great threat to the development and growth of Nigeria, says Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Speaking at the maiden edition of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ogun State Council’s Lecture series, themed “Corruption as factor for Nigeria’s Socio Economic Retrogression and Underdevelopment: Time to Act” held at the weekend in Abeokuta,Ogun State, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, Acting EFCC Chairman, stated that corruption has eaten too deep into the society, causing many Nigerians to seek greener pasture elsewhere.
“Corruption is likened to cancer cell in the medical parlance. The more it grows, the more devastating impact it makes on the carrier. As cancer is deadly to human health, so also is corruption to any human society,” he said.
He reasoned that due to failure of the country to stop corruption at the initial stage, Nigeria now struggles to cope with its debilitating pang.
He said, “As consequences for our lack of proactive response, we are now burdened by dwindling economy, collapsed infrastructure, ineffective health system, problematic academic system, unemployment, and insecurity, among many other social challenges.
He lamented that everything was going well for Nigeria until Nigerians allowed corruption to eat so deep into the fabrics of the society, stating that Nigeria as a nation was strong socially, economically and politically.
Magu however said that corruption’s negative impact on the socio-economy and development of the country has affected the capacity of government to function effectively in her ability to provide enabling environment for the private sector – the driver’s of the economy.
He added, “The so-called enabling environment include standard infrastructure, reliable health system, secured environment and the like. The government can also initiate tax holidays when necessary. Some of these had helped stimulate Nigeria’s economy in the past.
“Years of corruption has, however affected the capacity of government to function effectively in those areas thereby affecting full participation of private sectors in our economic activities.
‘Many factories have closed down across Nigeria due to lack of access to stable electricity and other infrastructure that are critical to the sustenance of their businesses.”
Suggesting a way out of the problem, the EFCC chairman charged Nigerians to help in getting the county back on track.
He noted that EFCC has been doing its best in the struggle, “the result of our modest effort is reflected in the number of arrests and convinctions we have recorded so far, as well as huge number of assets recovered from corrupt individuals to the federal government and other victims of criminal activities within and outside the country.”
The chairman of NLC, Ogun State Council, Emmanuel Bankole in his address said the programme was organised to show that labour activism was not about strike action only, but an essential and indispensable component of any progressive society.
He lamented that workers have been at the receiving end of a corrupt society.
He said, “Over the years, many factories have been shut down due to corruption by board of directors and management staff, throwing innocent factory workers into labour market with attendant dislocation of homes and families.”
He said this informed the state council’s resolve to collaborate with anti-corruption agencies in the fight against corruption to form the NLC Citizens Rights and Anti – Corruption Advocates (CRACA).
Among other things, he explained that CRACA will receive petitions from members of the public on matters bothering on human rights abuses or violation, process same and take appropriate action.