The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu on Thursday, October 10, 2019 reiterated the commitment of the current government to rid the country of corruption, disclosing that the government’s involvement of the EFCC in tackling the scourge of ghost workers in the civil service has led to a redemption of over N4.5 billion monthly.
Magu, who made the disclosure while delivering a lecture on “Corruption and Anti-corruption Strategies in Nigeria: Way Forward,” as a guest lecturer at the Course 28 Study Programme on National Defence and Security, themed: “Economic Diversification and National Development,” at the National Defence College, Abuja, singled out the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) of salary payment by the federal government for praise, which he said was responsible for saving the government of the N4.5billion monthly, that would have been wrongfully expended on ghost workers.
“The EFCC has been engaged in eradicating ghost workers from the federal government payroll which has resulted in saving as much as N4.5 billion monthly,” Magu stated, adding that “the Bank Verification Number (BVN) has been an effective tool in carrying out investigations effectively, as it has curtailed the opening of fake bank accounts by fraudulent individuals.”
Magu who regretted the effects of corruption in the country, noted that “every paralysis we have suffered in our economy and polity was caused by corruption, the volatilities and vulnerabilties in our security architecture are results of corrupt practices of several decades.”
According to him, “Since independence in 1960, Nigeria has lost unimaginable number of lives to road accidents, diseases, hunger; communal conflicts, kidnappings, armed robberies, terrorism and a number of other evils that owe direct or indirect percentage to corruption.”
The EFCC boss reiterated that the only gateway to development was through fighting corruption. “If Nigeria breaks away from corrupt practices in government businesses and in the private sector, we would transform into a model state overnight,” adding that corruption was like rainfall, “everybody gets affected.”
In further praise of the Buhari government’s efforts at ridding the country of corruption, Magu noted that “The current government came into power on the backbone of a promise to fight corruption,” noting that “there have been deliberate efforts to translate electoral promises to reality through the implementation of policies and programmes, designed to block leakages in government and enthrone a culture of transparency and accountability in the conduct of public office.”
He looked forward to more collaborations among security and law enforcement agencies in the country through the National Anti -Corruption Strategy which partly aims to bring about coherence and synergy in the efforts of law enforcement agencies to rid the country of the scourge of corruption through multi-pronged approaches that strengthen the capacities of “dedicated anti corruption and public accountability institutions, and initiate systems that promote increased and active engagement of citizens in the fight against corruption.”
While touching on the successes of the EFCC, he disclosed that the convictions, earned by the Commission over a 10 year period, covering 2009 and 2019 have stacked up to 2165, of which 70 per cent of it, he said was achieved between 2016 to September 2019 under his watch.
The Commandant, National Defence College, Rear Admiral M.M Kadiri in his vote of thanks noted that “what will keep all of us at peace beyond all of these is if we key into the corruption fight.” He observed the need for proper utilisation of funds saying, “we all have a role to play to ensure that monies meant to be used for public good will be applied according to what and how they were meant to be utilized.”