The acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, and Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State have decried endemic corruption in the country.
The duo expressed concern about the danger the scourge of corruption has posed to the corporate existence and socio-economic and political lives of Nigerians.
The two eminent Nigerians raised the concern in their separate speeches delivered during the seventh convocation lecture and 10th anniversary of Fountain University, Osogbo, on Sunday.
Magu, while delivering the convocation lecture entitled ‘The Damaging Effects of Corruption in a Growing Economy’, revealed that just 55 Nigerians illegally acquired over N1.3 trillion between 2006 and 2013, adding that one third of the monies, using World Bank rates and cost, could have comfortably been used to construct 635.15 kilometres of roads; build 183 schools; educate 3,974 children from primary to tertiary level at N25.24 million per child; build 20,062 units of two-bedroom houses across the country and do even more.
He stated further that his commission has in the last two years retrieved more than N738 billion that was illegally acquired by corrupt individuals.
Magu, who was represented by Olanipekun Olukoyede, his Chief of Staff, lamented the rate of corruption in the country, reiterating that Nigeria would have become a heaven if she had not been bedeviled by corrupt and unscrupulous individuals that have siphoned and still embezzling public and private funds.
He said corruption has permeated the nation as if there were no honest and decent individuals.
According to him, a culture of impunity had taken roots, massive looting of public resources and wholesale graft was the order of the day in the public service.
“Officers entrusted with the commonwealth saw that as an opportunity to enrich themselves to the detriment of the poor and impoverished masses.
“Public institutions were worse off arising from the corruption that was endemic in the public service. Our public-owned educational institutions, hospitals, water boards, roads, mass transportation systems, etc. are in a sorry state because monies voted for their construction, repairs, upgrade, or supplies are criminally misappropriated and diverted by dishonest government officials.
“Consequently, the poor state of our education, the tragic condition in our hospitals, the dilapidated roads, and absence of germ-free water flowing from our taps, are what we are reaping due to the corruption of the few that have found a place in the public service.
“Corruption showed its head even in the fight against Boko Haram; money meant for purchase of arms to fight the insurgents was misappropriated, misapplied and out rightly embezzled.
“In our effort to do what we have been established to do we have been attacked, castigated, maligned and some of my colleagues have been killed in the line of duty. We face huge challenges because corruption fights back! The corrupt are not going to quit quietly without giving us a fight, they have the resources and the network to try and stop us doing our job”, he noted.
In his contributions, Aregbesola revealed that many Nigerians live on unearned income.
Aregbesola identified lack of productivity, creativity, innovation and critical thinking as bane of national growth and development.
The governor noted that the country remains poor because society has lost the fundamental basis of existence of hard work and productivity.
He attributed the endemic corruption in the country to poor orientation among Nigerians and the negative notion that a better life could be lived without work, thus exposing the country to social vices.
According to Aregbesola, it is unfortunate that the virtues of hard work, productivity, innovation and creativity are lacking in our national daily lives as a people and as a nation.
“I wonder if it is because of level of corruption that we are largely unproductive because if not, the pace of corruption in the country wouldn’t have reared its ugly head as we are currently experiencing.
“We all forget the fundamentals that emphasised productivity as the basis of existence in the civilised society.
“A country that is based on unearned income can never fight corruption just as lack of productivity and absence of innovation bring about socioeconomic backwardness”, Aregbesola added.
In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Fountain University, Prof. Abdullateef Usman, said the university has been growing from strength to strength as it has made giant strides in academic activities.
Usman charged the graduating students to remain resolute and take the bull by the horn and grab any opportunity that comes their way with caution.
In their separate remarks, the Chancellor, Fountain University, Sheik Ahmed Lemu, and the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the University Council, Prof. Is-haq Olanrewaju Oloyede, charged the graduating students to be worthy ambassadors of the university and Nigeria at large.