The greatest cog in the wheel of Nigeria’s progress that has hindered her growth and developments is corruption and ridding the nation of the cankerworm is the task every Nigerian must imbibe.The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) made this assertion weekend in Kaduna during a public lecture for the Marshals of Kaduna State Traffic and Environmental Law Enforcement Agency (KASTELEA) organised by the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kaduna Council.
In his paper captioned “Causes and Consequences of Corruption”, the Deputy Commissioner, North West Zonal Office of ICPC, Mallam Musa Ibrahim Alkali defined corruption as “to destroy” from the latn word “curruptus”.
He stressed that corruption is any conduct that amounts dishonesty, breach of trust, influence peddling by the use of fraudulent means, offering or accepting gratification among others.
Alkali classified corruption into petty, grand, political, organised, chaotic among others.
He also grouped corruption into bribery, embezzlement, fraud, intimidation, extortion, abuse of power, conflict of interest, insider trading and receiving an unlawful gratuity, favour or illegal commission.
Others are favouritism, nepotism, money laundering and identity theft among others.
While advising that any form of corruption should be eschewed, he also brought to the fore some of the cause of the monster in our society.
According to him, factors such as low salaries, decline in morals and ethics, greed and desire for self enrichment, poverty, unemployment, weak checks and balances , weak institutional internal control system and monopoly of power and large operational discretion are possible causative factors directly linked to corruption.
Also educating the public on the overview of the ICPC Act, Godwin Basheru stressed that there are myths about corruption among which are; corruption is not a crime, a small problem, and there is nothing one can do about it.
Mr Basheru explained that corruption thrives “where there is monopoly of power, large operational discretion and weak oversight, operations and process are not transparent, positive values are lacking, risk of getting caught and being punished is low.
“Societal dynamics put pressure on office holders; poverty, materialism, low pay, poor welfare, sectional interests, societal pressure etc, great personal greed”.
He affirmed that corruption is not limited to monetary issues as “it has permeated all fabric of the Nigerian society”.
Quoting from section 8 (25 to 64), he identified the various offences and their punitive consequences in jail terms and fines ranging from gratification with seven years jail term to transferring of money from one vote to another (virement) with a fine of 50 thousand naira or one year jail term.
Basheru warned that corrupt persons are enemies of Nigeria as everybody is negatively affected when they act. He advised against the celebrating corrupt people, but the public should think instead the number of projects such as schools, hospitals, roads that such corrupt persons “put in their pockets” by their illicit acts.