An estimated 1,204 convictions have been secured since 2015, Ibrahim Magu, the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), said on Tuesday.
He also said Nigerians have suffered the menace of “elite-capture syndrome” through the manipulation of the electoral processes using stolen public wealth to subvert the people’s will.
Mr Magu spoke at a one-day National Democracy Day Anti-corruption Summit organised by the EFCC in Abuja.
The summit, themed “Curbing Electoral Spending: A panacea to Public Corruption”, held at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel.
In attendance were guests from the diplomatic community and government, including the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame; U.S Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington; Head of the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ketil Karlsen; Nigerian state governors and some of their predecessors.
”The convictions secured by the Commission since the beginning of this administration reflect a positive progression. In 2015 the Commission secured 103 convictions, 194 in 2016, 189 in 2017 and 312 in 2018. From January 2019 to date the Commission has secured over 406 convictions and recovered several assets worth billions of Naira,” Mr Magu said.
The official also said “corruption does not just affect the economy of the country but encourages terrorism”.
”Corruption does not only stifle economic and social benefits due to the citizens, but it also perpetuates terrorism in Nigeria as numerous studies and the empirical evidence available to the EFCC indicates. The principles of democracy have been ‘bastardised’ over the years by the ruling elite in some countries across the globe.”
Mr Magu said the commission was able to monitor cash movement in the 2019 elections.
He added that EFCC also arrested and arraigned individuals caught buying votes during the elections.
”Electoral spending by politicians is often linked to voter inducement in Africa and in our local parlance, “votes buying”. Worthy of note is the fact that one is induced to sell his vote,
”He automatically loses the moral equilibrium to challenge corrupt tendencies of those elected. On the other hand, vote-selling by the electorate has mostly been due to several factors, including lack of proper political education.
”Political parties often induce voters with money because they lack appropriate and realistic policies to convince the electorate to vote them into power, thus breeding multi-dimensional adverse effects on good governance and creating gaps for corruption to thrive,” Mr Magu said.