ICPC identifies greatest obstacle to Nigeria’s anti-corruption fight

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), has identified the “greatest obstacle” to the fight against corruption in Nigeria.

Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, the ICPC Chairman, said “hypocrisy remained the greatest obstacle to the fight against graft” in the country.

Owasanoye spoke on Thursday in Abuja during a workshop organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Anti-corruption, in collaboration with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) on the theme; “Corruption As Threat Security In Niger.”

He noted that Nigeria has enough laws and regulatory frameworks to address the issues of corruption, but that hypocrisy remains a major stumbling block.

“We’re not in short supply of anti-corruption legislations. There are many laws that many do not recognize as anti-corruption frameworks; that are not ICPC, EFCC, or Police or NAPTIP or NDLEA. The Bureau of Public Procurement is an anti-corruption gatekeeper; the CBN is an anti-corruption gatekeeper. The Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission, ICRC is an anti-corruption gatekeeper. I could go on, many of them like that, if you aggregate them, you would get like about 50.

“Most regulatory bodies also play an anti-corruption role. Virtually, all professions are regulated and every unethical practice that is carried out by these professionals is already prohibited by their rules, so we are not in short supply of anti-corruption institutions but what we are in short supply of is integrity. We have a generous supply of hypocrisy, and we also deceive ourselves.

“It is very important that we understand that unless we confront these issues, we are going to continue to struggle, dealing with corruption, adding that corruption erodes the capacity of the state to provide for the welfare of the people, and it reflects in different ways.

“Corruption is an existential issue for us as a country, and so, we need to have a conversation around it. There is a problem I have with the ethical understanding that we share as a community, and I say this because it appears that some of the things that are killing us, some people do not recognize them as such, especially people who really do not want to know”.