TVC N. The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, says corruption should be reduced to the minimum if the country is to make significant progress on development.
Fayemi, who is also the Chairman of Inter-Agency Task Team, said this at a seminar to commemorate the “2016 International Anti-Corruption Day’’ on Friday in Abuja.
The theme for the Day is: ‘’Corruption: An impediment to the Sustainable Development Goals’’ with the campaign slogan, ‘’United Against Corruption’’.
He said that corruption had serious debilitating effects as it not only undermined development but also an enabler for other crimes and anomalies, thereby perpetuating a vicious cycle.
The minister said the Federal Government had array of legal framework and institutions to fight the scourge, as well as the commitment to nip corruption in the bud.
He explained that the linkage of corruption to sustainable development was instructive because the essence of government was to ensure and guarantee development and well-being of citizens.
According to him, anything therefore, which is an impediment or likely to constitute an impediment to this goal must be fought with vigour.
“The current administration is running an anti-corruption agenda anchored on prevention; public engagement; sanctions and enforcement and recovery of proceeds of corruption.
“The sanction and enforcement mechanism is ensuring that there are no sacred cows. For the first time in our history, perceived untouchables have been touched and people are voluntarily returning illicit acquired assets.
“We are now as a matter of routine assessing corruption risks in our institutions to reduce vulnerabilities likely to enable corruption and impede service delivery,’’ he said.
Fayemi said the government was also promoting beneficial ownership disclosures with emphasis on the extractive sector in order to ensure transparency and accountability in managing the countries resources.
He explained that Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) was working to develop an appropriate roadmap for those disclosures in accordance with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiatives (EITI) principles.
According to him, for the government to succeed in this fight, it must ensure effective implementation of the laws holistically and across board without fear or favour.
“Pro-active efforts must be sustained to make corruption risk assessment and implementing remediation and integrity plans a culture within our MDAs.
“Ethical codes and procedures must be deployed and enforced, which will ensure service delivery, increase public confidence and get citizens involved in the fight against corruption.
“To effectively deploy preventive and sanction mechanisms, the anti-corruption and accountability institutions have to be adequately equipped with appropriate financial and human resources.
“This will enable them to stay one step ahead of the corruption that is sparing no efforts to device new ways of looting our common resources.’’
Ms Lilian Ekeanyanwu, Head, Technical Unit on Governance and Anti-Corruption Reform (TUGAR) said that corruption had remained a major impediment to national development as well as to the SDGs.
Ekeanyawu said that the theme of the year’s Anti-Corruption Day was designed to ensure that every citizen played active part in eliminating corruption and ensure rapid development in the society.
She said that corruption had impacted negatively on the development of the country, calling on the anti-corruption agencies to synergise in the fight against corruption.