FRANK SERPICOThe fight for justice against corruption is never easy. It never has been and never will be. It exerts a toll on us, our families, our friends and especially our children. In the end, I believe the price we pay is well worth holding on to our dignity.
Corruption 'produces' the following scenario and more...
*The judiciary, which is supposed to be the last hope of the common man for justice is compromised.
*There are no medicines in hospitals.
*The national carrier (aircraft) is suffocated out of existence.
*Well-intentioned subsidy on petroleum products is abused.
*No jobs for youths - youth bulge.
The book, 'Anatomy of corruption in Nigeria: Issues, challenges & solutions' edited by Yusuf Ali (SAN), was presented to the public in Abuja on 17th May, 2016. It was a coincidence that 17th May was also my (Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa) birthday. The book x-rayed the effects of corruption highlighted above and more.
In his keynote address at the occasion, Vice President, Prof Yemi Osibajo, SAN, GCON said that the fuel price hike became necessary because of the level of corruption in the fuel subsidy issue and the scarcity of the US Dollar occasioned by the depletion of our foreign reserves. He alluded to the fact that it was corruption that made it impossible for Nigeria to build or maintain refineries over the years, which has forced Nigeria to be import-dependent.
In his contribution, Adebayo Olanipekun (SAN) gave knocks to the judiciary:
In the book, Adelodun suggests that it was time for Nigeria to adopt the Chinese and Saudi Arabia models of the death penalty for official corruption. A Singaporean journalist who covered the Commonwealth Heads of State meeting in Nigeria in December 2003 described the country thus: 'Blessed by nature, but undone by men, Nigeria is described as the Cindarella of Africa who never made it to the ball on account of systemic corruption...'Our criminal system is skewed in a way that it does not deter corruption, but rather has the opposite effect of encouraging it. Situations where a poor boy who stole a hen is sentenced to two years imprisonment, and a high ranking public officer who embezzled N23 billion is given an option of paying N250,000 fine cannot be said to deter corruption.
On the whole, many of the speakers alluded to the fact that corruption is a major source of conflict between the leaders and the citizens in Nigeria because many of the social benefits that should accrue to the average tax payer are not available because the required funds are siphoned out of the country. The countries that receive such stolen funds were also indicted at the book launch. Such countries were admonished to stop receiving such loot and return those illegally acquired monies already in their possession!
The big question: Can we have a corruption-free Nigeria in my lifetime? The consensus is that it would take the resolve of ALL Nigerians to ensure that the phenomenon of corruption is eliminated, or at least brought to the barest minimum...