The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, says the time has come to open a new page in the Federal Government’s fight against corruption.
Professor Osinbajo gave the hint on Wednesday at the opening of a capacity building forum for justices and judges in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
He said the President Muhammadu Buhari administration was rejigging the entire anti-corruption system, including a change in the attitude to investigations and trial of corruption cases.
“This is the time for us to open a new page in the entire anti-corruption fight, time to open a new page,” he said.
“And I’m extremely pleased to see that Your Lordships are all onboard, everyone is onboard, the executive is determined to support in every way.”
The Vice President opined that the corruption must be fought with the same or even more commitment compared to the efforts aimed at tackling terrorism.
He said corruption would continue to impact negatively on Nigeria if not swiftly checked, adding that it was a crime against humanity.
“Problem with corruption is that it is cancer, it may be terminal if not checked. Why should terrorism be more strictly viewed than corruption cases?
“Clearly, the misery and loss of lives on account of corruption far exceed that of any other single crime, there’s no question at all. If you look at the extent of damage that is caused by corruption, it surely is a crime against humanity without a doubt.”
Professor Osinbajo also decried the level of corruption in governance which he said was hindering justice delivery.
He accused the former administration of aiding corruption, especially in the build-up to the 2015 general elections.
He said, “In the last administration, two weeks before elections, cash in excess of N100billion and over $250million was released in a few days … for security purpose; the aggregate sum released was more than some states earned in a whole year.
“Enormous resources in the hands of perpetrators today is used to subvert justice – to bribe pliable senior government officials, to bribe in some cases, judicial officers, to subvert the legislative process and, of course, to subvert even the press.”
The event was organised by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the National Judicial Institute.
It was also attended by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen; and acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu, among other key players in the anti-corruption drive.