By Fortune Abang
Abuja, Aug. 7, 2020 The African Union (AU)’s Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) has urged the Nigerian Government to be more holistic in its approach to fighting corruption for positive results.
Dr Tunji Asaolu, 1st-Nigerian Representative of the 3rd Permanent General Assembly of AU-ECOSOCC, gave the advice while addressing a coalition of civil society organisations on transparency and accountability, on Friday in Abuja.
Naija247news reports that ECOSOCC is an advisory body of the AU, established to give civil society organisations a voice within its institutions and decision-making processes.
The event was organised by ECOSOCC in collaboration with Initiative for Leadership and Economic Watch in Nigeria (ILEWN) and Accountability and Good Governance Initiative (AGGI), both non-governmental organisations.
Asaolu said: “We want corruption to end; we are calling on President Muhammadu Buhari, who remains anti-corruption champion for Africa, not to disappoint Nigeria and Africa.
“We are saying that he (Buhari) should remove the bad eggs; those that are giving him a bad name and the legacy that was built over the years.
“Those that are trying to undermine the nation’s integrity; he should remove them from his government.
“Corruption is an enemy to development
“Any country that wants to develop has to kill corruption; corruption is not about embezzling money alone but also attitude and way of life’’.
He advised civil society organisations not to take laws into their hands but should work closely with the government to actualise lofty programmes for the good of the citizenry.
Also speaking at the event, Mr Splendour Agbonkpolor, Executive Director of ILEWN, decried corruption, saying it was cause for concern, not just for government, but also the civil society organisations in the country.
He observed that the act whereby public officials alleged of corrupt practices being tried while they maintained their official position in the office, often hinders fights against corruption.
“You cannot be trying a person on corruption and the person still remains in office.
“You cannot be talking about a person taking away people’s money and he is still on the seat that gave him leverage to access that money and to defend himself.
“We call on the President to take more holistic approach.
“The fight against corruption is yet to be over if it is to be correlated with Nigerians expectations and belief on anti-corruption,’’ Agbonkpolor said.
On his part, the Executive Director of AGGI, Mr Jacob Okpanachi, underscored the need for the overhaul of government agencies, to boost the fights against corruption.
According to him, there is need for the government and civil society organisations to rescue the nation’s economy.
“We call on the resident in the event that a corrupt public office holder is alleged of corruption, such person do not deserve to remain in that office, when investigation is ongoing.
“The tendency is that the public office holder is going to use the resources of the office to bribe his way through.
“Corrupt public office holder that has a case in court, who is still sitting as chief executive of agency should be asked to step-down, to ascertain true nature of the corrupt practices committed.
“By so doing, we will be sure of winning the fights against corruption,’’ Okpanachi said.