- BY REMILEKUN DARAMOLA in Maiduguri•
As the fight rages in Nigeria, the Executive Secretary, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Sadiq Radda has moaned that both the state and local governments in the country have not shown interest in the fight against corruption in the country.
Radda, who said the federal government is making giant strides in the fight against corruption, cited that battle to recover N900 billion by the ICPC from federal lawmakers being mismanagement of money given for constituency projects is instructive.
Speaking in Maiduguri at the 14th Anti-corruption Situation Room with the theme increasing transparency and participation in the implementation of the social investment programme, Radda said for the anti-corruption war to be successful and impactful, the other tiers of government should be involved.
He said corruption is not only perpetuated at the federal government level, but also at all the tiers of government and it only make sense for both the state and local governments to create machineries to the wage war on corruption.
He also added that until the judiciary is willing to truly support the fight against corruption, the nation would only be scathing the surface.
Radda said: “Law is the most conservative in any part of the world, judges and lawyers pretend to be pro-change but they are not. You can suggest reforms but they will maintain the status quoted because it benefits the elites. So you can do the homework but those who would implement it are entirely a different matter.”
He lampooned those criticising the present anti-corruption war of the government as being selective, explaining that the onus is for the accused to prove he was innocent and never to whip up sentiment.
He noted that the present political dispensation cannot be blamed for having alleged corrupt politicians occupying political offices as long as the law continue to state, “innocent until proven guilty.”
He said this cannot be changed until the system insist that the onus of proving once innocence is on the accused and not on the government to prove the accused beyond reasonable doubt.
He lamented that you can not deny anyone from occupying political office as the system stands.
Also speaking at the occasion, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju the Head, Human Rights Project at Human and Environmental Development Agenda, the organizers of the programme, asked Nigerians to scrutinise the figures touted around in the country.
He said many figures from the states are for political gains and to short-change the system.
“Go to the states to find the number of students in primary schools, you will be surprised to get different figures to different sources from the same government.
“There will be different figure to get money from federal government, different figure to get money from UBEC, different figure to pay salary to teachers and these are figures that is necessary to implement programmes of this nature.
“Trust politicians for who they are. It is the same problem with them. It is not just for the benefit of the people, it is just for political mileage, for political interest and many times it is for the financial benefit that is derive from it.
“So it is the journalists, the civil society and the citizens that will need to start taking them up on those figures. Once we do not challenge them and make them get away with it, it is going to be very difficult to have a change in the system,” explained.