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Buhari directs ICPC to probe ministries yet to join govt’s e payment platform
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Independent Corrupt Practices And Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), to put its searchlight on ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), that have not migrated to the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), to reduce public sector corruption.
The president spoke on Tuesday at a summit on “Diminishing Corruption in the public sector” organised by the anti-corruption agency and the Office of the Secretary to the government of the Federation, OSGF, held at the State House Conference Centre, Abuja.
“I urge ICPC to beam its searchlight on all agencies yet to get on the IPPIS and our e-government platform in order to fully halt the padding of personnel budgets and the diversion or misappropriation of capital budgets,” he said.
Buhari commended the ICPC’s efforts to reduce public sector corruption through preventive strategies, said that his administration had mandated all government agencies to join the e– payment system.
The president, who reiterated his conviction that corruption is one of Nigeria’s major problems, said that fighting it would require the efforts of all arms of government working together. He also called on all Nigerians to join the government in efforts to combat the malaise.
“As I have repeatedly said, corruption is the cause of many major problems in our country. It is a catalyst for poverty, insecurity, weak educational system, poor health facilities and services and many other ills of our society,” Buhari said.
He observed with dismay that over N1 trillion has been spent zonal intervention projects, otherwise known as constituency projects, but lamented that the result of this huge investment has not been felt by communities and ordinary Nigerians.
“It is on record that in the past ten years One trillion naira (N1trillion) has been appropriated for constituency projects yet the impact of such huge spending on the lives and welfare of ordinary Nigerians can hardly be seen,” the president noted.
The President commended the ICPC for saving the government billions of naira that it discovered in padded personnel costs of MDAs and the assets it had so far recovered from corrupt persons, assuring Nigerians that he would ensure that all recovered assets and funds are used for the benefit of the people.
In his own remarks at the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, who also agreed that corruption is the nation’s major problem, bemoaned a situation whereby Nigeria has earned a bad name in the comity of nations, in spite of the efforts by successive administration to address the problem of corruption.
He commended the efforts of the ICPC and other anti-corruption agencies in tackling the cankerworm, noting that the administration of President Buhari has shown a will to deal with the problem headlong.
Muhammad said that the anti-corruption effort of the government is already yielding fruits as seen in Transparency International’s latest Corruption Perception Index, which ranks Nigeria 144 on the list of corrupt nations, up from 158.
He, noted, however, that the ranking still shows that a lot needs to be done, adding that the ICPC, EFCC and other anti-graft agencies must be challenged by the Transparency International rating.
The CJN said that every arm of government, including MDAs, must put in place an internal anti-corruption system, adding that the judiciary’s effort at doing this is evidenced by the National Judicial Council, NJC’ss sanctioning of erring judicial officers.
Justice Muhammad assured that the judiciary under him would not condone any maleficence on the part of judicial officers, but also called on the government to ensure that every Nigerian is held accountable for his actions, irrespective of his/her position in society.