February 20, 2023



Ahead of the 2023 Presidential elections, Nigerians have been asked to expose corrupt practices in order to help the country attain prosperity, peace and development. At the weekend, several human rights groups across the country after a meeting in Lagos called on Nigerians to back the on-going anti graft campaign by the relevant anti-corruption institutions, especially the fight by the notable anti-graft institution, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The groups after the one-day interactive session said the civil society have historical responsibilities to the society to ensure corruption is brought down on its kneels. The meeting was attended by 35 leading Nigerian Civil Society organizations drawn across Nigeria. The groups said it is worried about the politicization of the fight against corruption by politically exposed persons. It cautioned politicians not to pollute the human rights community by promoting voices that seek to stem the anti-corruption campaign. Some of the groups in attendance were the Human and Environmental Development Agenda, (HEDA), Journalists for Democratic Rights, JODER, Nigerian Human Rights Community, NHRC,

“We have a duty to defend human liberty one of which is to confront corruption which not only leads to poverty and misery adding that the civil society should  defend institutions that genuinely confront corruption” the group said.

The group said it noted that Nigeria is currently at the mercy of corrupt politically exposed persons whose activities threaten the livelihood of the people apart from the dangers their conducts posed to sustainable development.

The groups said it is committed to constructive engagement of the leading anti-corruption group in Nigeria, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and would continue to offer genuine counsel and criticisms where necessary.

The groups regret that political figures are constantly corrupting public voices to destroy anti-corruption institutions. Why the anti-graft agencies have their short comings, the plot to demystify and annihilate the EFCC through orchestrated campaigns is not only dangerous but inimical to the overall interest of millions of Nigerians who are victims of the horrendous misery arising from corruption.

The groups said that Nigeria would have been worse without the EFCC urging that the civil society has the obligation to prevent people motivated by politicians to obliterate the gains already recorded by the anti-corruption institution.

It noted that the EFCC has recovered over 400 billion in the past one years, several convictions have been recorded, highly placed political figures are being taken to court and some of them convicted. While we recognize that several miles are left uncovered, the fact is that the achievements represent remarkable movement forward and not backward.

“Corruption is like cancer. It diminishes the status of its host, destroys the fabric of the nation, fuels violence, human misery and even wars. Civil society organizations should oil the anti-corruption wheel instead of trying to be a cog in the cycle”, the group said .  According to the human rights groups, calls for the resignation of the EFCC Chairman, Bawa are premature, unnecessary and unwanted and made in bad conscience.  We do not think this is a novel demand as the reasons advanced are not legitimate enough. The groups said some of those making the calls are respected peoples and organsations within the human rights community adding that their position may have been informed by lack of adequate information. It then called on the EFCC to sustain its civil society engagements instead of keeping itsef away from popular platforms necessary to nurture many of its utilitarian policies.

“While we recognize the imperatives of the rule of law, it is important to state that the logic of law itself should be exhausted by the stakeholders and not to be hijacked by any other politically-motivated interests. Where there is a pronouncement by a court of final jurisdiction on any matter involving the anti-graft agency, it has no option than to bow to the dictate of law. That is the only instrument needed to deepen the moral high ground of any anti-corruption agency needed to sustain public trust.

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