The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on December 9, 2019, organized anti-corruption road walk that took place across many states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT) in commemoration of this this year’s the International Anti-Corruption Day, as declared by the United Nations.
This event was themed: “Zero Tolerance to Corruption”
In Ibadan, Governor Seyi Makinde joined the officers of the Commission’s Ibadan Zonal Office in the road walk. The governor was accompanied by the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs. Olubamiwo Adeosun; deputy chief of staff, Mojeed Mogbojubola, and other top government functionaries.
The governor, who used the occasion to mobilise the people of the state in the fight against corruption, noted that no meaningful development can take place in a society that fails to curb corruption.
He describe the fight against corruption as duty in which all citizens must partake to secure better life and good governance.
The Ibadan zonal head of the Commission, Friday Ebelo, while speaking to journalists on the occasion, noted that corruption remained the most potent threat to human existence.
Recounting the successes of the Commission within the year in the zone, Ebelo disclosed that, “In the last one year, particularly from January 2019 till date, the zone received 691 petitions. 213 of these were returned unapproved as issues raised therein did not fall under the purview of our mandate.
“In the course of investigations, the zone arrested 878 persons. Out of the 268 prosecuted, 171 have been convicted. Our investigations also led to temporary freezing of 1044 bank accounts, while 56 automobiles and 14 houses were impounded. We equally have several laptops android phones and many other electronic devices confiscated in compliance with court orders,” he said.
In Gombe State, the walk began from the zonal office of the Commission through the City Centre and ended in Pantami Stadium where lectures were delivered by various speakers.
Gombe State governor, Muhammad Inuwa Yahawa expressed sadness over the recent report of the National Bureau of Statistics which ranked Gombe State among the states with high rate of corruption in the country, and declared his readiness to join hands with the Commission in the anti-corruption fight.
The Gombe Zonal Head of the EFCC Michael Wetkas in his speech, explained the role the Commission played in this year’s general election, towards the prevention of vote buying and selling.
“We were able to secure one conviction while a number of suspects were arrested for vote buying in the zone,” Wetkast said.
He disclosed that the Gombe Zonal Office this year secured the final forfeiture of two houses, interim forfeiture of seven houses, three cars and over N400 million, and secured 71 convictions.
The Commission in the zone also intercepted and smashed a syndicate of fertilizer and palm oil adulterators as well as those involved in the diversion of relief materials meant for internally displaced persons (IDP).
In Lagos, Zonal Head, EFCC, Mohammed Rabo called on anti-corruption stakeholders to continue to support the Commission to break the chain of corruption in the country.
“We have been charged to come together and be united against corruption. The message for this year is well themed and timed. We must all have zero tolerance to corruption.
Our individual and collective resolve to foster attitudinal change, shun the alluring temptation of acquiring illicit wealth and embrace values that can promote the culture of accountability and transparency at all levels remain a major panacea to the menace of corruption in our society.”
“ We cannot feign ignorance of the fact that our paths to glory are strewn with thorns occasioned by the undisciplined elements among us. But we owe the coming generations the responsibility to weed out the corrupt in our midst,” Rabo said.
Managing director, Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Hadiza Bala- Usman, who was part of the event, urged Nigerians to join hands with the EFCC to stamp out corruption in the society. Bala-Usman described the anti-corruption walk as an avenue to create awareness about corruption, adding that, “We believe that all sectors and indeed, the maritime sector, should answer the call to get rid of corrupt practices from the country.
“There is need for us to ensure transparency and accountability in all our operations.Today is just one arm of the collaborations we have with the EFCC.We believe our synergy with the EFCC is important.We also believe that the civil society has a strong role play,” she said.
In her address, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, chairman, Steering Committee, Movement Against Corruption, MAC, and President, Women Arise said: “As we speak, Nigeria that should have been the richest country in the whole world is being ravaged by corruption. Nigeria is bleeding under the heavyweight of corruption. So, it is either we kill corruption or it kills us.
“So, today, we stand in unison to say that corruption cannot be fought by only one single organisation, EFCC. We must all unite to end corruption, which is cancerous and ravaging us.”
In Port Harcourt, Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa, the Zonal Head, tasked transport operators across the country to steer clear of corrupt practices in their business dealings.
He gave the charge while addressing a crowd in the Mile 1 Market area of Port Harcourt, Rivers State in commemoration of the 2019 United Nations International Anti Corruption Day. According to him, transport operators have greater roles to play in fighting corrupt practices in their respective lines of business.
He specifically dwelt on the criminal acts of illegal oil bunkering in the Niger Delta region and stressed that without the involvement of transport owners, oil theft in the area would never have been so rampant.
“The history of the Port Harcourt Zonal Office of the EFCC is that of the EFCC’s efforts in investigation of illegal dealing in petroleum products, illegal oil bunkering, crude oil theft , economic sabotage among other related crimes in the maritime sector.”
All the crimes mentioned above can never be committed without them conspiring with transport operators. We urge vessels, barges, Cotonou boats, trucks and vehicle owners to be law abiding, obtain all relevant licenses from authorities and update same as the rules and regulations demand”, he said.
Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyeson Wike expressed readiness of his government to support the anti- corruption efforts of the EFCC. He gave this assurance while addressing a crowd at the Mile One Market area of the State in commemoration of the 2019 United Nations International Anti Corruption Day.
According to him, corruption has wreaked havocs on the entire economy and polity and every Nigerian must lend a land in tackling it.
” We will support the EFCC to fight corruption within the ambit of the law. We stand with the EFCC on the fight against corruption and whatever it takes to support them, we will do….All of us know that corruption has eaten deep into our country and corruption is the major problem we have as far as Nigeria is concerned and EFCC alone cannot fight corruption. It requires every Nigerian, every stakeholder to fight corruption”, he said.