The Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, said that the country needs a strong, independent, decentralised and impartial anti-corruption agencies, operating within clearly and established rules and tradition.
Ekweremadu said this at a public service lecture he delivered at the University of Ibadan on Friday evening.
The lecture which was organised by the University’s Alumni Association held at the Trenchard Hall.
Ekweremadu spoke on ” Federalism and The Legal Framework for Combating Corruption in Nigeria”
He said strong anti-corruption institutions will give hope to the citizens.
The Deputy Senate President said that concern about corruption is as old as the country itself.
He said that in spite of the various anti corruption efforts, it was clear that corruption has shown no sign of abating in Nigeria.
“Dealing with corruption is difficult and challenging, but it is not without hope either.
“We need a far-reaching and in-depth re-orientation. Importantly, Nigeria being a federation, the war against corruption must itself be developed, and generalized, not centralized as it is currently the case”
Ekweremadu said that the country should allow each state to set up its own policing system as it was the norm in other federal jurisdictions such as the United States and Canada.
“Decentralised policing will make the task of preventing, detecting, investigating and prosecuting certain offences and small scale corruption matter easier”, he said.
According to him , the state police itself will absorb unemployed youths and lessen the incidents of fraud while the incident of corruption is easily detected and tracked.
He said that for the country to achieve all this , it must move policing to the concurrent list.
Ekweremadu said in as much as it is easy to point accusing fingers at the governing elites in public and private sector, the nation must embark on individual soul searching .
He said that such soul searching should be from the highest to the lowest of the social economic strata.
“From the clerks who would never be able to trace your file unless you grease their palms, to security men who would not let you in or claim that “Oga no dey” if you are not the type that part with “kola” each time you visit”
He said that Section 15 (5) of the 1999 Constitution as amended states that “The state shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power.
“However ,the arduous responsibility of abolishing all corrupt practices and abuse of power can never be possible without the right political will and cooperation by Nigerians”, he said.
The Deputy Senate President said that the political will to fight corruption, must be blind to political affiliation, friendship, ethnicity, religion and family.
” It must not only be immune to selectiveness, parochialism, nepotism and double standards, but must be able to command the goodwill, support and legitimacy required to win the battle,” he said. (NAN)