No To Merger Of Efcc, Icpc


Considering the pervasiveness of corruption in both the public and the private sectors of our nation’s economy and the Nigerian society at large, patriotic Nigerian citizens and stakeholders involved in the fight against corruption in the country, both at home and in diaspora, are bound to disagree with the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN) over his call for the merger of EFCC and ICPC as the panacea for effective fight against the corruption. The cankerworm, without doubt, has continued to eat deeper into the fabrics of our society each passing day.

But, if the present day level of corruption in the three tiers of government in Nigeria and in the country as whole is anything to go by, establishment of more anti-corruption bodies aside the EFCC and ICPC will not be considered to be out of place. Without mincing words, Nigeria still ranks as the most populous black nation in the world and coupled with the signing of the long-delayed Freedom of Information of Bill into law by President Goodluck Jonathan, it is expected that the workload of the existing anti-corruption bodies i.e. EFCC and ICPC are bound to be on the increase, hence the need for further strengthening of the two outfits as autonomous bodies.

The seriousness of both EFCC and ICPC in the fight against corruption in Nigeria cannot be doubted but unfortunately the pervasiness of the menace in our society seems to dwarf the achievement so far recorded by the two bodies since 1999 when Nigeria returned to full-blown democracy. To say that government’s undue interference in the handling of the arduous task of checking corruption in the society by the two bodies goes a long way in portraying the bodies as ineffective, is to say the obvious.

President Goodluck Jonathan talked tough on his administration’s commitment to the fight against corruption in the society during the swearing in ceremony of ministers and advisers appointed into his cabinet recently in Abuja. There is no doubt that Nigerians both at home and in diaspora will engage in periodic assessment of the commitment to the fight against corruption with a view to determining the success or otherwise of his administration between now and 2015 as far as the fight against corruption in all ramifications in the country is concerned.

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The President’s declaration of his administration’s preparedness to do away with the ‘business-as-usual’ syndrome in a bid to check corruption in the society will no doubt receive the support of patriotic Nigerians both at home and abroad. The appointment of a full fledged minister to take charge of Trade and Investment Ministry is indeed laudable. Nigerians are no doubt looking forward to the Jonathan administration, through the Minister of Trade and Investment, to embark on policy shift in foreign investment by paying more attention to countries with zero tolerance for corruption such as Sweden, Norway and Finland. It would be recalled that Taylor Woodrow, one of the big road construction companies in the Nigeria in the 70s left Nigeria when it became evident that the company’s preference for doing clean business in Nigeria met with resistance and stone wall. Apart from Taylor Woodrow, there are other big companies that have relocated to other countries due to high cost of doing business and corruption in our country.

Today, Skanska, a foreign investor from one of the Scandinavian countries, is the major handler of road construction in Ghana and there is no doubt that the Ghanaian government has continued to benefit immensely from that company’s transparency in doing clean business in that part of the world. It is high time Nigeria relied less on foreign investors from countries that tolerate corruption in one form or the other. This is the bitter truth which we cannot run away from.

It is therefore hoped that President Goodluck Jonathan will not relent in facing the fight against corruption with all seriousness it deserves and to make this task easy, he is advised to immediately embark on strengthening and adequately funding the EFCC and ICPC as autonomous bodies. He should also be prepared to make a national sacrifice by paying more attention to foreign investors from countries where zero tolerance for corruption is firmly entrenched in governance and in doing business in all ramifications.

•Joseph Odunayo wrote from Mopa, Kogi State. e-mail: [email protected]

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