Tackling corruption the soft way

Nigeria is at war, and the war is mostly within, from all corners, north, west, east and south. From the Boko Haram insurgency to banditry and kidnapping giving the northern part of the country sleepless nights to secessionists and agitations in the south and west.

At the centre, youths are angry with government for not providing jobs for them. Also, those at the centre have been accused of mismanaging public funds; funds that are supposed to be used for the betterment of the people.

All of these and many Nigerian challenges have been blamed on corruption, which for a long time has made us all victims in one way or the other to the challenges before us.

Corruption has taken its toll on our sovereignty and security, national and economic development, good governance and democracy, as well as denting our country’s image in the eyes of the world.

There are actually two sides to corruption; the side of the giver and that of the receiver. A simple definition of corruption is diversion from the acceptable norms, rules and standards for selfish means. It is a situation where whoever finds himself at the helm of affairs exhibits negative tendency to enrich himself and his cronies unlawfully.

Corruption can be political, bureaucratic, electoral, bribery, fraud, swindling and deceit, counterfeiting, trickery, forgery, smuggling, racketeering, embezzlement, extortion, favouritism, and nepotism, money laundering and terrorism financing. They are all linked to corruption because the proceeds laundered and money used to finance terrorism are believed to be ill-gotten.

A man arrested by the police for example can pay any amount of money to secure his release, students can pay any amount to their lecturers to help them pass exams. A traveller can pay any amount to get a train ticket from either Kaduna to Abuja, a public office holder can use his position to secure a huge government project, a Vehicle Inspection Officer and other traffic officers can use their position in racketeering a car plate number or any other document, market men and women are not immune.

Yahoo boys can obtain money by false pretence in the name of love scam. Husbands and wives all have their ways of getting a piece from corruption.

People engage in corruption because they want to enrich themselves. A graduate can pay to secure a job in a ministries, agency or company’, a political office holder can divert millions of naira meant for the construction or rehabilitation of a primary school, a health centre or solar powered electrical panels in his constituency. Ministers, senators, emirs, governors can all influence the award of scholarships to students, or contract awards in their states.

In an effort to fight corruption the soft way, Nigerians need to collaborate with the relevant agencies. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC is at the heart of this fight as it is not only mandated by the law to prevent it but to also prosecute. From the public to private sectors, all agencies and ministries must collaborate in any way possible to bring this menace to its knees. The EFCC has reiterated that it cannot fight corruption alone and this is because it takes two to tango in corruption, the giver must be willing to give and the receiver must be willing to receive.

Through collaboration, we can also prevent corruption even before it happens. The aim of those who engage in corruption is to enrich themselves, there is need to be very proactive. Being proactive means working with institutions to identify corrupt conduits and eliminate them from the system.

 

Abbas Abubakar Umar Jabi, Abuja

 

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