The Senate has frowned at the growing underfunding of anti-corruption agencies in Nigeria, noting that the development could scuttle the campaign against corruption in the country, which is one of the hallmarks of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
Spokesperson of the anti-graft commission, Rasheedat Okoduwa, in a press release on Wednesday, quoted the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Anti-corruption and Financial Crimes, Chukwuka Utazi, as raising this concern during the budget defence of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC at the National Assembly.
Utazi said that poor budgetary allocation to the Commission would make it difficult for the ICPC to attain its set targets.
He said, “If we want to fight corruption, we must fund the fight. You want to fight corruption without funding? It won’t work.
“Agencies like ICPC need to get into the consciousness of Nigerians. They need to do enlightenment and educate the people on the ills of corruption.
“This will help us to look at the ‘cause’ which is less expensive than what we are doing now by running after the corrupt.”
Utazi assured the ICPC that the Senate would ensure improved budgetary allocation to the Commission.
“There must be a total overturn in the budgetary process. We will make a case that you get what you deserve to do your work. We have done that for others before, so we will do it again,” he said.
The lawmaker added that “we are going to see what the Committee will do. We will engage the relevant people concerned including our colleagues from the House of Representatives to look at the paltry sums being given to you.”
Earlier in his presentation to the Senate committee, Chairman of ICPC, Ekpo Nta, lamented that inadequate funding was hindering the performance of the Commission.
He told the Committee that some operations of the Commission were delayed and others left unexecuted in 2016 because of insufficient funds even while they were captured in the budget.
ICPC had submitted a budget proposal of N5.8 billion for 2017 to the National Assembly.