The former Speaker Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Godfrey Dikeocha, has urged the National Assembly to enact a law to enable the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) be part of the award of contracts from the onset.
Dikeocha, who stated this on Tuesday at “Unveiling of a Corruption Tori Season 3”, a pidgin television programme by the Signature Communications, said the law if enforced would make the anti-graft bodies keep the files on contract awards to enable them monitor their execution.
The chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) urged the federal government to abolish quota system and other principles in the constitution that encourage corruption.
He also suggested payment of living wages to civil servants, explaining that it would be difficult for civil servants to abstain from stealing without payment of the allowance.
According to him, the Supreme Court judgement which prevented EFCC from looking into states’ finances should be revisited.
He said: “The Supreme Court said that EFCC should not look into the finances of states that it is against the constitution.
“I do not think the Supreme Court is helping us with that. I find a lacuna in that. I am suggesting that the National Assembly should make the relevant laws to close that loophole.
“I do not accept it and it is not possible for the state assemblies as presently constituted in Nigeria will be able to check what is going on in states.
“During our own time, we could summon a governor and ask questions. But most state assemblies cannot even summon a commissioner.
“So, how do you want him to set up anti-corruption agency that will start looking into the finances of the states?
“The National Assembly should promulgate a law that every contract in awarded in Nigeria, a file should be handed over to EFCC, ICPC from day one so that at the end of the day, they will be the one to monitor so that if they find out that there is a problem, they will call those people in.
“The way we carry on in Nigeria encourages corruption. It is not a question of setting up corruption agencies, government should also absolve itself of corrupt tendencies because what are you going to tell these children that five of them go into an examination then somebody scores 300, another person scores 5.
“You give the person with 5 admission and you ignore the person with 300 and you say you are doing quarter system.
“The government is promoting corruption with that. It is going to work on the psyche of the child for the rest of his/her life.
“For us as parents, we must also try to inculcate some of these things in our children.
“My take is that if we want to start solving corruption in Nigeria, let us start giving our civil servants living wage.
“When a child is hunger, the child steals. We are pursuing the small thief and leaving the big thieves.”
Meanwhile, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), announced the engagement of religious leaders in the fight against corruption.
The Assistant Commandant, Creative Communication Unit of the Commission, Chris Oluka said: “The governance initiative is what we use to talk to people in government regarding local government budget for example, preparation, monitoring and implementation.
“We also have the interfaith initiative where we deal with the heads of religious bodies.
“We have what we call the interfaith manual where we advise these people to use their offices to fight corruption knowing fully well that the two major faiths that we have in this country; the Christian and the Muslim faith even in their good books have anti corruption messages.
“We deal with these people directly. We also have the CSOs intervention. We train them on how to take this fight to their various catchment areas and stakeholders,” he said.
On his part, Chief Executive Officer of Signature Communications, VinMartins Ilo, said the initiative of the programme was to drastically reduce the scourge of corruption.
Ilo called on the both the EFCC and ICPC, to make available useful information on Corruption to the media, to enable media organisations expose the ills of thievery.”