Nuhu Ribadu, pioneer chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), says the commission has done “fairly well” in its fight against corruption.
He, however, added that for the war to be successful, law enforcement agencies like the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the police must “wake up from their slumber”.
Ribadu was speaking at an anti-corruption townhall meeting tagged ‘A spanner in the wheel of corruption’, organised by the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Foundation in Abuja, on Monday.
He decried the high rate of corruption in the country, pointing out that Nigeria has the number of corruption cases in the world which is “probably bigger” than cases in all African countries put together.
“The EFCC alone has over 3800 ongoing corruption cases in the courts, not to talk of other cases,” he said, adding: “but they have their hands full.
“They (EFCC) has done fairly well. You need to see what these people go through to get one case to court. It is hell. Because some people will do everything possible to make sure you don’t drag them to court. They do not even sleep.
“Let the ICPC wake up from this their slumber and start doing something too. Same with government ministries. There are lots of government agencies that are not doing anything to support the fight against corruption.
“The Nigeria police force should also wake up and do what the EFCC is doing. Same with the law enforcement agencies and the judiciary; why are we not getting the convictions in the corruption cases? They have a role to play as well.”
The former EFCC chairman, however, said the situation of corruption in the country is “not always negative” as the country has been able to record some strides in the anti-graft war.
“Nigeria is the only country that has successfully recovered stolen money taken abroad,” he said, adding: “Other countries in Africa and other places have tried but they never succeeded.
Also speaking, Waziri Adio, executive secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), said for the problem of corruption to be addressed, there is the need for Nigeria to first tackle “institutional corruption.”
“Wherever monopoly exists, and where there is institutional discretion and without measures of accountability, the institutions will definitely be abused,” he said.
“We need to look at issues of sanctions, systems and society. We focus too much on sanctions but as important as they are, they won’t upturn the table.
“We need to put a formidable system in place. If you have a society where corruption is normalised, no matter the system and sanction, people will abuse it.”