The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission has called on the Federal Government to ensure that corrupt public officials face stiffer penalties.
ICPC Chairman, Prof Bolaji Owasanoye, who spoke at a rally commemorating the 2019 African Union Anti-corruption Day in Owerri, said that the negative economic impact of corruption on the African continent was “glaring”.
Represented by the agency’s chairman in Imo State, Aruo Udonsi, Owasanoye said the worst hit victims of corruption in Africa were the vulnerable “poor and marginalised individuals”.
According to him, the continent will not make meaningful headway unless issues of corruption in public office were decisively dealt with.
He said, “Since proceeds of crime end in assets stashed mostly abroad, it is germane that Nigeria adopts the strategy of asset recovery and return to the source as one of the cardinal points of her national anti-corruption strategy.
“It is even sad that the bulk of an estimated $90bn that leaves Africa through illicit financial flows annually might have come from Nigeria. The continent as a whole certainly receives less than that amount in development assistance from countries of Europe and America yearly.
“As you are aware, President Muhammadu Buhari, being the AU anti-corruption champion, charged the new ICPC board at its inauguration early in the year with the responsibility of pursuing a renewed and more rigorous war against corruption in Nigeria.
“When N10m is stolen from public coffers by a local governor, 20 boreholes meant to provide potable water to the local people are never dug. The corrupt officials and their collaborators in turn laugh to the banks at the expense of the majority.”
He said that the ICPC board was poised to squarely address grand corruption in the social welfare sector, which, according to him, has impacted negatively on the lives of ordinary citizens.