From Okwe Obi, Abuja
A former Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, Godfrey Dikeoacha, has suggested ways corruption could be tackled in the country.
Dikeoacha, who spoke at the unveiling of Season 3 of Corruption Tori by Signature Communication, yesterday in Abuja, proposed that a file of every contract awarded should be in the possession of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), for monitoring.
The chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), also advised government to abolish the principle of quarter system, as it was skewed against certain regions of the country.
In addition, he suggested the prompt payment of living wages to civil servants, explaining that it would be difficult for civil servants to abstain from stealing without payment of the allowance.
According to him, the supreme court judgement which prevented EFCC from looking into the finances of the states should looked into.
He said: “The supreme court said that EFCC should not look into the finances of states that it is against the constitution.
“I do not think the supreme was helping us with that. Even if I find a lacuna in that I am suggesting that the National Assembly should make the relevant laws to close that loop hole.
“I do not accept and it is not possible for the state assemblies as it is presently constituted in Nigeria to be able to check what is going on in states.
“During our own time we could summon a governor and ask questions. But most states assembly cannot even summon a commissioner.
“So, how do you want him to set up anti corruption agency that will start looking into the finances of the states?
“The National Assembly should promulgate a law that every contract in Nigeria that is awarded, a file should be handed over to EFCC, ICPC from day one so that at the end of the day they will be the one to monitor so that if they find out that there is a problem, they will call those people in.
“The way we carry on in Nigeria encourages corruption. It is not a question of setting up corruption agencies, government should also release itself of corrupt tendencies because what are you going to tell these children that 5 of them go into an examination then somebody scores 300, another person scores 5.
“You give the person with 5 admission and you ignore the person with 300 and you say you are doing quarter system.
“The government is promoting corruption with that. It is going to work on the psyche of the child for the rest of his/her life.
“For us as parents we must also try to inculcate some of these things in our children.
“My take is that if we want to start solving corruption in Nigeria, let us start giving our civil servants living wage.
“When a child is hunger, the child steals. We are pursuing the small thief and leaving the big thieves.”
Meanwhile, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), announced the engagement of religious leaders in the fight against corruption.
The Assistant Commandant, Creative Communication Unit of the Commission, Chris Aluka said: “The governance initiative is what we use to talk to people in government regarding local government budget for example, preparation, monitoring and implementation.
“We also have the interfaith initiative where we deal with the heads of religious bodies.
“We have what we call the interfaith manual where we advise these people to use their offices to fight corruption knowing fully well that the two major faiths that we have in this country; the Christian and the Muslim faith even in their good books have anti corruption messages.
“We deal with these people directly. We also have the CSOs intervention. We train them on how to take this fight to their various catchment areas and stakeholders,” he said.
On his part, Chief Executive Officer of Signature Communications, VinMartin Ilo, said the initiative of the problem was to drastically reduce the scourge of corruption.
Ilo called on the both the EFCC and ICPC, to make available useful information on Corruption to the media, to enable media organisations expose the ills of thievery.