18th June, 2012
Going by the high level of corruption in high places in Nigeria, the dream of attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) targets might as well be a mirage.
This was the view expressed by Dr. Philip Ugbodaga, Chairman, Edo state chapter of Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), while reacting to the $620, 000 bribery scandal rocking the House of Representatives.
The Edo NMA said it was watching very closely the developments in the House of Representatives, said the large scale of institutionalised corruption in Nigeria has dashed the promise that our nation held out to the entire black race at independence, which it said must be addressed with everything that we have, just as it recommend a if Femi Otedola and Farouk Lawan should be made to face the full wrath of the laws of our land irrespective of their status, if found culpable.
A press statement signed by Dr. Ugbodaga on behalf of Edo NMA observed that the fight for the proverbial “national cake” has become very fierce in Nigeria, noting that “if we continue at this rate, we are very unlikely as a nation to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) or be one of the top 20 global economies by 2020,” adding that corruption has become the greatest threat to the survival of Nigeria’s democracy.
“The Nigerian Medical Association, Edo state branch notes with grave concern the unfolding drama in the House of Representatives concerning the celebrated report of the panel that investigated the fuel subsidy payments to some Nigerian oil companies.
“Following the reports of possible compromise by some members of the probe, specifically Hon Farouk Lawan, there have been accusations and counter accusations on the matter. The Nigerian Medical Association had alerted the nation of the possibility of the probe becoming a mere circus show to hoodwink Nigerians and we had demanded for a more holistic and public probe of the Nigerian petroleum industry with identified culprits subjected to thorough investigations and public prosecution.
“Corruption has led to more poverty for our people as resources meant for the modernisation of our health sector, job creation, and other poverty reduction strategies have been misapplied and misappropriated with impunity and without regards to the plight of the common man on the street.
“How do we expect our development partners to come and invest in our country to help sustain our industrial and technological advancement when all we read on the Internet everyday are stories of graft without commensurate punishment meted out to offenders?” the statement queried, adding that it has led to the tainting of Nigeria’s image globally and the lack of confidence in government by Nigerians both at home and in diaspora.
The doctors threatened that they will not hesitate to “mobilise Nigerians and other civil society groups to storm the streets to demand more commitment to the fight against corruption by the government should President Goodluck Jonathan and anti-graft bodies refuse to take the right steps to fight corruption and safeguard our democracy.”
By Jethro Ibileke/Benin City