By Andy Chukwu
Itse Sagay, Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), has said that it is a waste of effort to jail corrupt persons.
Sagay, represented by Professor Etannibi Alemika, PACAC member, spoke on Wednesday during a workshop organised by the committee in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Jos, Plateau state.
“Corruption has primarily been fought by the Federal Government in the country. There is too much focus on financial corruption but the truth is that nepotism is a more serious problem.
“After our evaluation in the fight against corruption, we discovered that jailing people is a desperate and wasteful effort. It is going to be difficult to have convictions because of the weakness in the judicial institution. And that is why we have concentrated more on asset seizure of corrupt people as the way to go,” he said.
Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau State, at the event, advised traditional and religious leaders to dig into the backgrounds of people seeking chieftaincy stools and religious offices so as to minimise corruption in the society.
The meeting, which focused on value reorientation and the fight against corruption, was organised in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency (NOA).
Represented by Mrs. Rhoda Dakok, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice of the state, Lalong said that such checks were crucial to selecting people of integrity to such noble positions.
“This gesture will help weed out corrupt persons whose goal is to abuse such privilege positions,” he said.
He also said that the fight against corruption should not be left for the executive arm of government.
“All arms of government have roles to play. The legislature, the judiciary and all sectors, must be involved.
“It is on this note that the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), recently commissioned investigators to verify constituency projects executed by the immediate past senators and members of House of Representatives,” he said.
Lalong said that the state government would continue to partner with NOA for massive public awareness on the adverse consequences of corruption on the polity.
In his welcome remarks, Prof. Alemika, pointed out that corruption was affecting the equitable distribution of dividends of democracy to Nigerians, thus stalling development.
Alemika, who also presented a paper on ‘Imperative of Collective Fight Against Corruption ‘, said that the menace could be curbed through developing and implementing systems, laws, policies and sanctions that minimise opportunities and motivation for corruption.
In his remarks, Dr Garba Abari, the Director-General of NOA, said that corruption was affecting delivery of quality services to the public leading to poverty, poor standard of education, health services and infrastructure development, amongst others.
Garba, who was represented by Mr Bulus Dabit, the Plateau State Director of NOA, said that all agents of socialisation, especially the family, schools and religious institutions must contribute to value reorientation through inculcating values that would fight corruption and ensure a better society.
“Even at family level, do not give room to vices, because such is nurtured to adulthood and reflected in corrupt practices,” he said.
The stakeholders from the traditional, religious and government institutions attended the meeting. Other participants included youth groups, security agencies, Civil Society Organisations and the media.