By Ikenna Uwadileke
The House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes has called on state governments to establish anti-corruption agencies in order to make the fight against corruption all encompassing.
Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Kayode Oladele (Ogun-APC), said this during a visit to the National Assembly by participants of the first certificate course in corruption prevention of the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria (ACAN).
Oladele said that if the country must succeed in the fight against corruption, the campaign must be taken and implemented at all tiers of government.
“Corruption is a global phenomenon, and the laws we have in Nigeria on corruption are international laws.
“We now see that even some state governments have taken the issue of anti-corruption seriously and it is important that state governments educate their people on this.
“I want to commend the Kano state government for establishing a public complaints and anti-corruption commission to fight corruption in the state.
“We urge other states to establish such agencies. If you look at what we are currently doing, it is about prevention which is better and cheaper than to investigate and prosecute.
“It is important that state governments educate citizens on the ills of corruption,’’ the lawmaker said.
He emphasised that there could be no development in any society ridden by corruption.
“If a society is corrupt there will be wide gap between development and growth
“We want to make sure that this country develops, and in doing that, we have to let the people know that corruption is one of the problems.
“It is often said that when you fight corruption, it fights back. What it simply means is that agents of corruption are more potent than the agents of anti-corruption,’’ Oladele said.
He further stressed the importance of demonstrating the political will to fight corruption.
According to him, it brings about equality in the distribution of wealth and anti-corruption agencies operate without fear or favour.
“If the Federal Government does not have that political will to fight corruption, why are we just having the first set of participants when ICPC was established more than 10 years ago,’’ Oladele said.
Contributing, a member of the committee, Rep. Razak Atunwa canvassed for the removal of immunity on corrupt issues for elected officials who enjoy it.
“I don’t believe there should be immunity to investigate anyone for stealing because they ought not to steal in the first place but here we are the constitution prescribes immunity for them.
“If you commit a crime it is not in furtherance in execution of your duty, you are on the frolic of your own
“Again my interpretation is that immunity from prosecution is not immunity from investigation.
“There should be powers to investigate whoever and whenever he leaves office you prosecute him,’’ Atunwa said.
Earlier, the Deputy Provost of ACAN, Mr Kayode Adedayo, said the visit was part of the programmes lined up for the participants to be educated on corruption prevention.
The participants were drawn from various government agencies including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nigeria Ports Authority and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).