Former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Issa Ayo Salami, yesterday hinted that Nigeria is heading for a doom if it fails to address the growing corruption in the polity.
Also, the Auditor General of the Federation, Mr. Anthony Ayine, has said corruption, a global phenomenon, is becoming endemic in Nigeria, as an estimated $2.6 trillion has been stolen through corruption every year, according to the United Nations.
The duo spoke at the national conference and annual general meeting of the Committee of Heads of Internal Audit Departments/Units in Nigerian Universities (CHIADINU) at Kwara State University (KWASU), Malete.
The theme of the conference was ‘Fight Against Corruption: The Role of Internal Auditors’.
Justice Salami emphasised that Nigeria was at a threshold of monumental disaster if drastic measures are not taken to “avoid the holocaust” that corruption could bring.
The former jurist, who said the government and individuals should promote culture of high regard for dignity of labour and integrity, noted that sense of integrity was gradually being eroded from professionalism.
The Justice said: “One’s job and integrity are inseparable and should not be separated because the moment professionalism is compromised, it (the profession) becomes in most cases, ineffective.
“May I ask which of the professions is being practiced in Nigeria with due integrity? Certainly none! I want to say at the risk of repetition but for the purpose of emphasis that Nigeria is heading for doom if it fails to drastically deal with the chronic disease of lack of integrity in the practice of the professions. To my mind, all are practiced with impunity and damning consequences.
“All virtues such as courage, truthfulness, dutifulness, hard work, brilliance, skillfulness, productivity, and competence are universal principles. In the same vein, their opposites such as stealing, idleness, falsehood, laziness, betrayal of trust, smart practices, incompetence and recklessness stand condemnable anywhere in the world. Nigeria cannot be an exception.
“I appeal to you to value your names as you do your jobs more than anything else, and consider what history, not what people, would say about you before taking any action. Do not be carried away by the fact that our system is porous and so your misdemeanor may not be easily or readily uncovered. Remember that a day would come when what is hidden will be unearthed.”
While delivering a paper on Fight Against Corruption: The Role of Internal Auditors, the Auditor General for the Federation, Ayine, said corruption is a major governance challenge in Nigeria.
Ayine, who stressed that corruption, a global phenomenon, was becoming endemic in Nigeria, added that an estimated $2.6 trillion has been stolen through corruption every year – a sum equivalent to more than five per cent of the Global Gross Domestic Product (GGDP), according to the United Nations.
According to him, “The effects of corruption to the socioeconomic and political system of the country and the attendant poverty and misery it imposes on the citizenry have been so depressing over the years. This prompted the establishment of institutions like the ICPC, EFCC, code of conduct bureau, bureau of public procurement among others.
“It is however, my strong belief that if the audit function had been operating efficiently and effectively, there would not have been need for all these additional anti-corruption agencies.”