Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 15 May 2018 | 1,417 times
As part of the ongoing fight against corruption of the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, some past leaders and heads of anti-corruption agencies have assembled made case for the asset and loot recovery, in Nigeria, themed “Partnering towards asset recovery and reforms”.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who represented President Muhammadu Buhari, while declaring the 8th Annual General Meeting and Conference of the Heads of Anti-corruption Agencies in Commonwealth Africa open, said: “This is a collective effort we must acknowledge. Our anti-corruption agencies must be at the centre to address the socio-economic challenges facing us as a country and achieve the development required.z
Osinbajo added that corruption has continued to be the greatest challenge in Africa, saying the implication distorts the market and allow terrorism to flourish.
He, however, tasked the EFCC to recover stolen and be made returned to countries of origin. He said: “The returned asset must be utilised by the victim countries."
The event was held in Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.
Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes and Commission, Ibrahim Magu, in his welcome remarks, said: “Earlier at the beginning of this administration, President Muhammadu Buhari vowed to fight corruption without political interference and, so far, the promise has been kept.
“In a definite term, I can boldly say we are lucky at this time to have the most virile anti-corruption agency in the country. I share the same conviction with the President in fighting this cankerworm in our lives and we will continue in the fight".
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, in his goodwill message, indicated that the masses would not be sidelined in this fight, saying that "they are of valuable support because they have information and we need to cooperate with them."
According to him, "I assure you that we will not forget the masses in this fight against corruption because they have a lot of information and they need to be carried along. It is a commitment of the Nigerian judiciary to do this and we will not relent in our effort. We will conquer this monster."
Nobel Laureate Professor Wole Soyinka, also in his remarks, extolled the administration of President Buhari and the efforts of the EFCC in the ongoing asset recovery efforts. He said: "If you can help us recover the loot, you take 50 percent and leave the rest. Corruption is the responsibility of a collective people." He, however, described the gathering as "an engagement of like minds.
We have been bled dry by corrupt leaders in this country. Until we make sure we throw our leaders' ass through those doors, corruption in our country cannot be won. You need to help us recover the rest of the loot flying in the rest of the world.
Former Head of State in Nigeria, General Yakubu Gowon who spoke briefly at the event, remarked that: "We tried to make corruption not to happen during my years as Head of State in the 1960s. Apart from my salary, it was some of the members of my staff that contributed money from their estacode for me so that I can, at least, have something to fall back on after my office."
Gowon said further: "Let me also say that during our time, we do not know how to do 'those' things because we were afraid of being exposed. We believed that all we had belonged to the country. But it is rarely very sad now that it is always being reported that past leaders/Heads of State in Nigeria are thieves and it has affected the image of Nigeria. It is sad.
"We must make sure that all our leaders who are elected into office should check themselves. Let them not touch the nation's coffers and not deprive other people of their rights. Meanwhile, at this point, we must also encourage the leadership to be honest to themselves and the citizenry. This bad habit must not continue in Nigeria."
He however assured that Buhari's administration "will get back the stolen trillions of dollars that have been stolen by past leaders and should be used for the well being of the people", adding that "the money is not for those who are in government offices."
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