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The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC)and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) were established by former President Olusegun Obasanjo between 2000 and 2003 respectively to check corruption and other related crimes in Nigeria. This followed reported and proven cases of gross mismanagement of Nigeria’s financial resources, widespread corruption, illicit financial recklessness, conversion, diversion and embezzlement of public funds by some public office holders before and after the return to democratic rule in 1999.
The ICPC and the EFCC are charged with the task of ensuring accountability, probity and transparency in the management of public financial resources and enforcing extant laws on money laundering, counterfeiting, fiscal responsibility procurement acts, award and execution of governments contracts. Since inception, the two anti-corruption agencies have and are still recording tremendous achievements in the fight against corruption contrary to speculations and insinuations in some quarters that the war against corruption is discriminatory, lopsided, selective and vindictive. For instance the agencies recovered looted public assets and funds stashed in foreign banks by corrupt and unpatriotic elements. The agencies also arrested, investigated, prosecuted and secured convictions of six former governors of Adamawa, Taraba , Plateau, Edo, Delta and Abia States. That the fight against corruption is not selective or based on tribal, religious and political considerations, was further proven as the convicted former governors who were elected under different political platforms were not of the same ethnicity, religion or political party. The offences for which they were prosecuted and sentenced to various jail terms with or without option of fines include criminal breach of trust, borrowing huge sums of money to fund non existent projects, money laundering, misappropriation of ecological funds, bail out funds, local governments Allocations and diversion of public funds to private Use. Again, the former governors were alleged to have sponsored bills for laws to enable them to receive outrageous severance allowances and life pensions from their states after leaving office. More worrisome and ironically too, the governors failed or refused to pay minimum wage, salary arrears, pensions and gratuities to the serving and retired public servants in their respective states. Aside the six former governors already jailed, the anti-corruption agencies are prosecuting other ex governors and public officers including the celebrated case of Former CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele at various courts, special offences courts and probe panels for charges bordering on money laundering, diversion and misappropriation of public funds.
A few months ago , President Tinubu suspended the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs from office following reports of alleged illegal approval and transfer of five hundred and eighty five million naira belonging to the ministry to a private bank account. The President directed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to conduct a discrete investigation into the allegation and make appropriate recommendations to the federal government. Undoubtedly, the on-going prosecution of former public officers by the federal government shows that there is no sacred cow in the raging war against corruption in low and high places in Nigeria. It will also instill accountability and transparency consciousness in the current public officers. So that those with corruption tendencies will turn a new leaf to avoid arrest and prosecution by the agencies. Nigerians deserve to know the outcome of all such cases especially the latest issues involving the immediate past Governor of Kogi State. Public officers should therefore resist the temptation to divert or misappropriate funds meant for the public. Nigeria’s regular courts should reduce the rate at which they grant injunctions restraining the ICPC or EFCC from arresting or prosecuting public officers accused of corruption or granting long adjournments of corruption cases involving high profile public officers. Efforts should be made by the relevant arms of the government to sign the Whistle Blowers Protection Bill into law to ensure undiluted information dissemination on corrupt practices in public and private establishments as well as protection of whistle blowers. The officers and men of the anti corruption agencies should remain diligent, courageous, non-partisan, professional and incorruptible in the discharge of their duties.
Corruption is a social evil and the bane of Nigeria’s socio-economic and political development. No wonder the Executive Governor of Imo State , Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodimma stated categorically at different fora that he has zero tolerance for corruption and any of his aides indicted for corruption would be prosecuted regardless of his previous personal relationship with them. It is expected that the enthusiasm, zeal , determination and Political will with which the current Chairman of the EFCC, Ola Olukoyede is executing the war against corruption under the Tinubu administration will be intensified.



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