***Says report based on sentiments, secondary data
Presidential Advisory Committee PACAC) has faulted the Annual Report of the USA on corruption in Nigeria regarding the year 2021 for having failed in number of respects it was not the reflection of the reality in the country.
PACAC pointed out that after a review of the report it was discovered that it had relied on perception, media sensationalism, political storyline and secondary data.
Speaking during a media parley on Friday in Abuja, Chairman, PACAC, Professor Itse Sagay told newsmen that though the report had acknowledged the huge efforts of the EFCC and ICPC it held that the duo were ignoring high profile looters.
Sagay pointed out that the report failed to take into cognizance that it was the internet fraud boys and their likes that had matured into local and international oligarchs, “So nipping it in the bud should be a plus not a minus.”
He said that it was counter intuitive to suggest that lower and middle class looters should be ignored since high profile looters were not arrested.
He said that the report failed to acknowledge that there were many safe guards like IPPIS, BVN, TSA, Transparency Portal, whistle blowing Policy, better banking regulations, declaration of assets amongst others that were used to reduce corruption in Nigeria.
He added that these were enacted by the present administration and its agencies.
He explained further that, “the report ignored the excellent work done by the EFCC and ICPC in the areas of arrest, prosecution, conviction, asset recovery, fraud prevention and public sensitisation.
“Today constituency projects are tracked, budget padding is gone, bribe for budget approval is no more, fuel subsidy scam has been eliminated, sleeze in NDDC is halted, P&ID, OPL 245 scams are under investigation and trial as well as numerous forfeited assets are being auctioned.
He disclosed that these proceeds were plowed into highly successful, social investment programme, the second Niger Bridge and other major infrastructural projects.
The PACAC Chairman noted that the American Report, unlike the CCD, UNODC and the Afrobarometer, was suffering from a methodological flaw because its sources of data for gathering the report apart from perception and sensational media reports were unknown and largely unreliable.
He added that, “if the reporters truly knew about massive corruption, what stopped them from being our good friends, by confiding in Nigeria to enable us halt it within and outside the country?”
“While fighting corruption by this government is a top priority, its successful execution under civilian rule poses a challenge. While all our Anti – Corruption Agencies are doing their best without executive interference, the judiciary and the NASS need to partner with the Executive more vigorously. “Additionally, States Governors and LGAs have to show more commitment to the fight against corruption to make it inclusive, comprehensive and total.
“Clearly, if parents, religious leaders, schools and the international community cooperate with the Government and the Anti – Corruption Agencies in Nigeria, corruption can be reduced drastically.
“Currently, while a lot of success has been recorded, more can be achieved in the fight against corruption if there is coordination, collaboration and cooperation by all stakeholders.
The Executive Secretary, PACAC, Professor Sadiq Isah Radda called on the media and Civil Societies, CSOs, to perform their duties of informing the public about the fight against corruption and the efforts that have been applied to bring the menace to its bearest minimum by the government and relevant agencies as this could be better done or propagated by the media.
Radda said that the Government was making efforts to fight the menace of corruption because the fight was not a choice but a necessity for the development of the country adding that “people who have stolen from the common wealth of the nation should not be allowed to enjoy this proceeds of the crime.”
He poited out that money laundering was a big problem not only on the part of apprehending the perpetrators but also in terms of spreading the awareness and knowledge of the laws that are put in place to fight corruption.
He said that there was no going back in the fight against corruption, terrorism and money laundering as long as this present administration was concerned.