A former chairman of the Economic and FinancialCrimes Commission (EFCC), Malam Nuhu Ribadu, says Nigerians must collectively fight the war against corruption because the crooks are now winning the battle. Ribadu said this on Saturday while fielding questions from journalists after the 12th Annual Public Symposium organized by the Muslim Media Practitioners of Nigeria (MMPN), Abuja chapter.
The former EFCC boss chaired the symposium themed “Anti-Corruption: The Role of Media as a Change Agent”. The chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who gave a positive assessment of the ongoing battle against corruption, stated that the war could still be improved upon. “What is going on today is reinvigoration, a change that put it (corruption) as number one priority of government. I want to salute those who are responsible for that. I totally agree. “And I appeal to all Nigerians to please, for God’s sake, let’s think about our country, let’s make our own people the winner even if it means for once.
The crooks have been winning. Those who are stealing our own money have been winning. Let’s turn it around and make Nigerians winner,” said Ribadu, who was asked to rate the current fight against corruption. He added, “It’s going on very well. It can be done better.
But you also know and agree that things have changed. If you know the volume or the amount of money that we say today we have recovered, money stolen from individual and people, the money is with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), that tells you the story of what is going on today. We can do better. “We are still going through problems and difficulties.
What matters is for all of us to come together. I don’t think we should be talking about government alone. Government can lead and carry the flag. But all of us must be the subjects of this war against corruption. ”Earlier in his openining remarks, Ribadu urged themedia to champion the anti-corruption message, stand always for what it right, and refuse to join forces with the people they ought to help the public to fight.“ Above all, fear of God should be the guiding principle always.
At points of temptation always prick your conscience; ask yourself; what or who is on the side of the truth before making news judgement or lending yourself to any cause,” he also said. The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay, whose address was read by Prof. Sadiq Isa Rada, said the media had helped to reduce the effect of corruption fighting back through adequate reportage. Prof.Sagay, who said the federal government would not be deterred in fighting corruption, urged the journalists to use investigative journalism to cover judiciary, politicians and civil service among others.
The Director General of National Orientation Agency (NOA), Dr Garba Abari, who was one of the guest speakers, said the media had a critical role to play in promoting right values and fighting for social justice.
Another guest speaker and an Abuja-based Islamic scholar, Malam Nuruddeen Abdulmaliq, urged the media to expose corruption through investigative and unbiased reportage.The acting chairman of the EFCC, Malam Ibrahim Mutapha Magu, who was also represented by the commission’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, identified with the symposium. Uwujaren, who said journalists had a role to play in the fight against corruption, stated that the EFCC was worried that some sections of the media had offered their platform for those frustrating the anti-graft war.
The Director General of NIITDA, Dr Isa Ali Pantami, who was represented by Dr Abubakar Dahiru, said corruption thrived because of lack of accountability.