Olukoyede, Akume, Others Seek  Collective Efforts in Fight against  Corruption

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The Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC,  Mr. Ola Olukoyede and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume, have called for collective efforts as effective means of fighting economic and financial crimes and other acts of corruption.

 They made the disclosure in Abuja  on Thursday, May 23, 2024 at the 2024 First Quarterly meeting of Nigeria Inter-Religious Council, NIREC, themed; “The Role of Religious Leaders in Combating Corruption and Cybercrime in Nigeria.

The EFCC boss, who spoke through the Director, Public Affairs Department, DCE Wilson Uwujaren, described corruption as a cankerworm that had eaten deep into the fabrics of the society with its attendant effects on Nigerians.

According to him, corruption has hindered national development and wellbeing of Nigerians as well as socio-cultural, economic and infrastructural development of the nation. The EFCC’s boss pointed out that Nigeria had the resources to manage its wealth and development but for the debilitating effects of corruption.  To salvage the situation, he called on every Nigerian to own the fight against corruption and warned against leaving the fight to the EFCC alone. He observed that looters are united  by their common greed, stressing that their identities and religious backgrounds never matter  as long as their fingers are on the till.

“Therefore, for the corruption fight to be meaningful, it must be waged on all fronts, drawing on our collective energies to defeat a common enemy,” he said. Olukoyede charged religious leaders to respect and perform  their ecclesiastical duties by going beyond sermons but living a positive life that reflects honesty, integrity, compassion and goodliness.

“As religious leaders, your duty and calling go beyond messages and sermons. You are supposed to be the embodiment of virtues of honesty, integrity, compassion and goodliness. Only in so doing will the full essence of the messages being preached manifest in the lives of worships,” he said.  He also urged them to also work in close alliance with anti-corruption agencies by aligning the messages of their Holy Books with anti-corruption campaigns  for the benefit of the nation.

“The implications of this are already staring us in the face as children,  many of whom have never felt the meaning of governance have taken up arms against us. No one is safe any longer, and even those who thought they had stolen enough money to last for generations have suddenly come to the realization that what they have built are mere castles that could vanish in a moment of uncontrolled rage”

“The task to ensure that we do not create an environment for the corrupt to take over our society is one that belongs to every one of us; it should not be left to the EFCC alone”, he said.

In his own remark, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume, says corruption is a deadly virus that destroys the fabrics of a nation in multi-layer and multi-dimensional ways.

He disclosed that without formidable systems,  strong institutions, integrity and character, no system and no individual could be shielded from the dangers of corruption.

 “Without formidable systems, institutions, integrity and character, no system and no individual can be insulated from it. It is not unusual therefore, to find corruption within the political, traditional, faith based, community, social, youth and family institutions and systems.

“Key players in this condemnable act include parents, community leaders, business leaders, politicians, religious leaders, public sector employees, security agents, public office holders, judges, journalists, administrators of  schools or anyone entrusted with power and authority”, he said.

Akume highlighted some of the success recorded by the present administration, stating that the intuitional battle to fight cybercrime has been through the EFCC, ICPC, Police and the judiciary and called for more support from the populace.

 “Moderate success has been recorded, especially in the areas of arrests, prosecution and convictions. This administration shall leave no stone unturned in exterminating the scourge,” he said.

He urged participants to deploy their moral, religious and traditional knowledge and authority to come up with strategies that will help the government to tackle them.“Your partnership is important because all Nigerians align with you in every position you occupy,” he said.

His Eminence, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, Sultan of Sokoto, and the Chairman Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, described corruption as a monster that required serious attention before it consumed the entire nation. He commended Olukoyede in his efforts to rid the country of corruption,  stressing that anti-graft agencies and the federal government needed maximum support and help.

“We must take action before this corruption thing consumes all of us. Corruption is a very bad monster.  I am ready to do whatever it takes to cleanse the society, I think we should give them maximum support, maximum help and also give the government maximum help,” he said.

President,  Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Bishop Daniel Okoh, says what is required to fight corruption in Nigeria is to have a strong and morally sound leadership that can reduce crass materialism in Nigeria and kill the culture of worshipping material things in the society.

 “The challenge and the task before us therefore is to give a strong and clear moral leadership to bring down the altar of materialism and champion the movement to change the orientation that worships materialism in our people so that systemic corruption can be reduced to the lowest level.

“The theme of this quarterly meeting is the role of religious leaders in combating corruption and cybercrime, it is hoped that this will afford us the opportunity to sincerely evaluate our leadership at various levels and encourage one another to continue in our commitment to work towards a better society for all.”

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