Saturday, October 23, 2021

    Anti-graft war: convicted ‘public officers’ will be jailed – Owasanoye

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    Babatunde Akinsola
    Babatunde Akinsola is aNaija247news' Southwest editor. He's based in Lagos and writes on the Yoruba Nation political issues, news and investigative reports

    Impunity and abuse of public trust will persist despite Federal Government’s anti-corruption efforts unless a “big fish” gets convicted, the Secretary of the Presidential Committee on Anti-corruption, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, has said.

    Owasanoye, who noted that anti-graft agencies, particularly the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have only secured convictions of “small fries” in the past one year, argued that such pattern of conviction was inadequate to serve as deterrent to others.

    “If big fish do not go to jail, impunity will continue to rise. We must send a big fish to jail. It is important to make this point, because it encourages impunity when a category of people present themselves as if they are above the law.

    “So, imposing sanction and enforcement is very important, and that involves the cooperation of everybody, who is a player in the system: including the prosecution, the defence, the judiciary and the prison authorities,” he said.

    Also, the Chief of Army Staff, Major Gen. Tukur Buratai, has ruled out negotiation with Niger Delta militants, arguing that the government’s strategy was first, to smoke them out of hiding.

    Owasanoye and Buratai spoke at the state of the nation conference organised by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Abuja on Tuesday.

    Owasanoye, who gave details of federal government’s anti-corruption efforts, said the government was currently emphasizing on assets recovery and putting in place measures to prevent leakages.

    “In Nigeria’s case, the priority is to return the stolen assets. And this is where the logics are. If you inherit a government that is very broke and your revenue source is going down and yet, you have some individuals within the system, who are virtually richer than the state, what are you going to do? You have to go after them and retrieve the money they have stolen. And so, that is the strategy.

    “That is, of course, the strategy that the government is pursuing. It is not just by taking stock of the looters, but also by blocking leakages and haemorrhage in the system, which hitherto allow outflow of public funds,” he said.

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