Sagay Identifies Corruption As Obstacle To Nigeria’s Economic Growth

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BEVERLY HILLS, March 16, (THEWILL) – The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay has identified corruption as a major obstacle to the economic growth and development of the country.

Sagay, who spoke on Wednesday evening at the 2nd Public Interest Symposium titled: “How to Fight and Win the War against Corruption; Challenges and Prospects” at the Island Club, Lagos, said the scourge also hinders “the eradication of poverty, improved life expectancy and improved livelihood of all Nigerians”.

He held that corruption is responsible for Nigeria's low human development and poor policy choices which has directly led to the execution of white elephant projects, mass unemployment, general misery and wretchedness of the masses.

“Nigeria has been turned into the butt of jokes at the international community, for declaring itself the largest economy in Africa, while harbouring the poorest population in Africa.

“So, we live in this paradox. Nigeria is rich; Nigerians are poor,” the Presidential Advisory Committee Chairman noted.

Arguing that President Muhammad Buhari had marked a turning point in the fight against corruption; he claimed that previous administrations seemed to be have paid lip service to fighting the menace.

According to him, “The eradication of corruption is a major plank in President Buhari`s camp and as soon as he assumed office, he became the indicator for public conduct in the management of our resources.

“Apart from Buhari`s unimpeachable integrity and known intolerance of corruption, which he has demonstrated since 1983, the various Anti-Corruption Agencies that had earlier had gone to sleep, have suddenly `roared back' to life.

“We are presently witnessing the dynamism of the EFCC under a new leadership and that of the Code of Conduct Bureau in recent months. The ICPC is also manifesting some resurgence in its activities,'' he said.

Sagay said that the major weapons established for the war against corruption were the Anti-Corruption Agencies, ACAs: the ICPC, EFCC, the Code of Conduct Bureau and the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

“However, there are other anti-corruption bodies like the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency and the Bureau of Public Procurement, who are also engaged in combating corruption”.

He said that the fight against corruption were numerous, however, some of these arise from poor standards of investigation and prosecution.

“The prospect of effectiveness in the prosecution can be improved upon by prosecuting any person or persons who have compromised the process, be it a judge, a prosecutor or an investigator.

“By identifying and selecting judges of the highest integrity, who have passion for justice and can never be compromised by financial blandishments, to form the core of judges,'' Sagay stated.