As President Muhammadu Buhari begins his second term, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged him to step up the anti-corruption crusade by making it more effective and holistic.
Barrister Oluwadare Kolawole, Deputy Director, SERAP, stated this when he led a team from the group on a courtesy visit to the corporate headquarters of the Independent Newspapers Ltd (INL), Wempco Road, Ogba, Ikeja, Lagos on Friday.
The team was at the INL to present the group’s recent report on the government’s anti-graft war in the past four years, titled, ‘Nigeria Anti-Corruption Performance Assessment Survey’.
Kolawole maintained that although the anti-corruption of the Buhari administration had recorded some successes, more still need to be done, as corruption had eaten deep into the fabric of the society.
He said although most Nigerians believed that the war against corruption could be won, it would not be a day’s job, even as he stressed that government needed to carry the citizens along so that it would record more successes.
According to him, “We in the anti-corruption crusade advocacy believe that we cannot fight corruption without the people.”
He stressed the need for the government to empower the anti-graft agencies, especially the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other offences Commission (ICPC), with capacity building and infrastructure for them to perform better, even as he said the government must have the political will to deal with issues relating to corruption.
Kolawole maintained that the government should put in place social infrastructure for the people, adding that “you cannot fight corruption and encourage poverty.”
Highlighting details of the SERAP Report, Kolawole said it was meant to gauge the perception of the people on the anti-graft crusade since 2015, disclosing that findings showed that the Police and the Judiciary and Power Sector officials were neck-deep in corruption, especially as they were found to be involved in bribe taking.
The report, he said, which was compiled through interviews in the nation’s six geo-political zones and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), covered such areas like education, health, power, judiciary, all sectors that affect the general public.
The report, he disclosed, had been forwarded to the Federal Government, the states, the EFCC, ICPC, among others.
Kolawole, therefore, solicited the assistance of the INL management to ensure that the report and other projects and programmes of SERAP were given publicity through publications and the online platform for Nigerians to be well aware of it as everyone had to join hands in the fight against corruption.
He said: “We want you to make use of our information, graphics, videos in your print and online platforms for Nigerians to aware of what is happening.”