The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Tuesday May 23, 2017, organized an anti-corruption walk in Abuja to further galvanize the Nigerian populace to embrace the fight against corruption.
Led by Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman, EFCC, the walk took off from the EFCC head office en route Unity Fountain to Federal Secretariat, where invited stakeholders from diverse sectors including the organized labour, youth organizations, women groups and civil society organizations joined the procession.
Magu, in his address at the event vowed never to give up in making sure that corruption was completely eradicated in Nigeria stressing that, “the days of impunity are gone”.
“The reign of impunity in the conduct of public affairs has been checked to a considerable extent. By taking on the high and mighty in all sectors, the EFCC has proven that there are no sacred cows in the fight against corruption,” he said.
The anti-graft czar said that some elite in the society, whom he described as “deadly and without remorse”, are determined to slow the process employed by the agency in fighting corruption and vowed never succumb to their antics.
He stated: “A band of corrupt elite, threatened by the momentum of the anti-graft war, have sworn to derail the process. They are deadly and without remorse, as they plot and scheme to defeat the anti-corruption programme and take the country back to the dark days when corruption and impunity reigned supreme. We will not succumb to them.”
According to him, the government’s focus on anti-corruption has galvanized the anti-corruption establishment and delivered hope that corruption can indeed be fought with the right political will.
The EFCC boss used the occasion to acknowledge the support of all stakeholders in the fight: “Much gain has been recorded in the last two years. These gains are attested to by massive recovery of stolen assets and convictions of some high-profile corruption suspects.”
He enjoined all Nigerians to key in to the fight against corruption as the war can only be won through a consensus.
In his remark, Comrade Ayuba Philibus Wabba, president, Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, lauded the commission’s achievements so far and pledged support for efforts geared towards wiping out corruption in Nigeria.
Wabba said that Nigerians have suffered in the hands of looters and it has become imperative for everyone to join in the fight, as that is the only way the war can be won.
He said: “If the fight against corruption doesn’t succeed, then we Nigerians will be at the receiving end. The fight is very necessary. Why we don’t have good roads, education, health system, bad economy and the rest; the answer is simple. It is because corruption is entrenched in the system. It is because the money has been stolen. Funnily, these days, we have seen that even burial grounds are being used to hide money.”
Osita Okechukwu, director-general, Voice of Nigeria, who also joined the walk from the EFCC headquarters, noted that the anti-graft agency was in need of the support of all Nigerians, as it alone cannot win the war against corruption.
“I deem it necessary to join in this walk against corruption, because it is very significant, and I strongly believe that rather than criticism, what the EFCC needs at a time like this is nothing but support,” he said.
Dr. Mohammed Nasidu, director, Anti-corruption Organization of Nigeria, commended the initiative of the EFCC in organizing the walk against corruption, describing it as “a welcome development”.
“This is a welcome development. It has created awareness to show the common man that corruption drags us back. The common man does not know the evil of corruption and today has availed them that opportunity”, he said.
The president of Global Initiative Leadership and Good Governance, Ambassador Emeka Ezeigwe, while describing corruption as a “virus” said that the walk clearly showed how committed people were in eradicating corruption. He added that if only everyone could say no to corruption, the society will be a better one.
Ezeigwe commended Magu and said that the civil society remained solidly behind the EFCC.
The walk, which held simultaneously in all the cities where the EFCC has offices, featured representatives of the inspector-general of police, comptroller-general of immigration, commandant-general of the NSCDC, national president, National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, and the comptroller-general, Nigeria Customs Service.
— Wilson Uwujaren, head, media & publicity, EFCC