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CSOs to Buhari: Be sincere, courageous in fight against corruption

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ICPC says it recovered assets worth N82.5 billion in one year

A coalition of civil society and media organisations has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to be sincere and courageous in his administration’s fight against corruption.

The group made the call at a special radio town hall meeting to mark the 2021 International Anti-Corruption Day in Abuja on Thursday.

In his remark, Senior Program Officer at Wole Soyinka Center for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) Adeolu Adekola said the government needed to ensure that systems in place to fight corruption were turned into institutions.

Adekola, who identified lack of political will as a hindrance to fighting corruption, called on the government to build a culture of speaking truth to power while decrying that investigative journalists in Nigeria faced backlash and adverse challenges for doing their job.

Similarly, Senior Program Officer at African Center for Media & Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) Godwin Onyeacholem urged President Muhammadu Buhari to demonstrate the courage to expose corruption, noting that the current administration did not seem to have the political will to fight corruption.

Onyeacholem, while lamenting that corruption had permeated every facet of the public sector, stressed that Nigeria needed to urgently do something about corruption or risk losing more of its scarce resources.

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“If we don’t do something about corruption in the next 10 years, according to the 2015 Price Water Cooper (PWC) report, 30 per cent of our GDP will be lost to corruption,” he said.

Journalist and representative of the International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) Olugbenga Adanikin diffused allegations of imbalanced journalism in covering corrupt practices in the country.

He stressed that The ICIR had focused on exposing corruption, criminal acts and ills in the society through investigative journalism in the last 10 years. He urged serious prosecution and jailing of public servants that stole public funds.

The coalition was led by the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development (PRIMORG).

Speaking during the programme, Director of Public Enlightenment and Education at the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) Mohammed Ashiru Baba said not less than N82.5 billion and assets had been recovered in the last year by the commission.

“Between January and December last year, we recovered N82.5 billion worth of assets and also restrained N147 billion overhead cost from MDAs as well as the capital cost that would have been pocketed by MDAs, we recovered that one as well,” he said.

He also noted that the ICPC had also no fewer than 546 projects across Nigeria nominated by the members of the National Assembly, some of which, he lamented, were poorly and shabbily done or not executed at all.

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He added that the ICPC had been able to tackle corruption in the nation’s public service through various initiatives and interventions.

Baba commended the programme, saying it provided an opportunity for the global onslaught against corruption.

 

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