By Nedum Ekene
A group, Assisting Corruption Fight (ASCORF) has lamented the devastations that corruption has caused Nigeria, describing it as the single greatest obstacle preventing Nigeria from achieving its enormous potential.
Convener and president, Chief Nnoli Amaechi in a chat with newsmen in Onitsha, regretted that corruption remained a significant obstacle to businesses in Nigeria.
He said, “Corruption risks are pervasive throughout all institutions and it is criminalised in the country. It drains billions of dollars a year from the country’s economy, stymies development, and weakens the social contract between the government and its people.
Nigerians view their country as one of the world’s most corrupt nation and struggles daily to cope with the effects. The effects which are very enormous had significantly eaten into the fabrics of the nation and must be checked by collective efforts of all especially the Assisting Corruption Fight (ASCORF) group established to put an end to corruption pandemic in Nigeria.
“But despite a strong legal framework, enforcement of anti-corruption legislation in Nigeria remains weak: in practice, gifts, bribery and facilitation payments are the norms.
“In Nigeria’s political and institutional sectors, electoral corruption and kleptocratic capture of political party structures unlock corruption opportunities across a range of other sectors.
“Brown envelope journalism and other types of media corruption are commonly practiced which undermines democratic norms. Corruption is rife across the country’s economic sectors: petroleum, trade, industrial, agricultural, infrastructure, power sector, banking, and environmental.
“Together, these forms of corruption erase billions of dollars from Nigeria’s bottom line and prevent it from realizing its great human and economic potential.”
Coming to Nigeria’s security sectors, Chief Nnoli said that the country’s defense sector and police corruptions are destabilizing and compounding security challenges in conflict hotspots like the Lake Chad Basin, the Middle Belt, and the Niger Delta, the herdsmen and farmers/natives dichotomy that led to loss of lives of ordinary citizens which has formally transcended to banditry and kidnappings for ransom in the northern states of the country.
“Also, corruption in the judiciary and within anti-corruption agencies undermines the country’s already anemic accountability mechanisms, thereby fueling corruption across the spectrum, whether in the educational, health, and humanitarian sector, corruption saps the country’s social capital and has an outsized impact on its most vulnerable citizens,” he added.
Chief Nnoli Amaechi announced that Assisting Corruption Fight (ASCORF) as a registered entity has offered its services to the Nigerian Government in the fight against corruption, the way forward towards assisting in the fight against corruption is highly important and needed in our societies and in our country Nigeria.
“ASCORF will monitor, evaluate, scrutinize corruption domains in the system and most importantly blow the whistle on corrupt individuals, government workers, agencies and corrupt institutions where ever and whenever they find corrupt activity going on in the country, so that appropriate authorities will take it up for prosecution in the courts.
“Corruption as we all know is a moral atrocity and it has become a status symbol. In Nigeria today, corrupt individuals walk with their heads high while misinformed people hail them just for a little plate of porridge and financial inducements that may be offered to them as praise singers or to keep quiet.
“To us at ASCORF, it seems that corruption has become socially accepted in our society and its quite unfortunate that morality has decayed among the Nigerian populace.
ASCORF asks, “Is it a culture or a retrogressive factor?”
“Hopefully, this must be checked by collective action if we must have a corrupt free society and country that we can be proud of.
“To do the needful we must devise ways to fight corruption in people and that is by fighting the corruption which is within us first as citizens of this great country Nigeria. Understanding how it extends to us and how we can combat corruption. So, fight against corruption is for everybody irrespective of your class and status.
“Corruption prevention is about intervening before the corruption takes place/occurs. To prevent corruption and other serious misconduct, we need to decide how and what are the best ways and places to intervene.
“On this therefore, let us get started and see how we can contribute towards this fight against Corruption starting from our immediate environments.
“Finally, Chief Nnoli Amaechi stated that Assisting Corruption Fight (ASCORF) will champion the way forward towards assisting the government in the fight against corruption as its highly important and needed in Nigeria,” he concluded.