HEADLINE | Posted: Tuesday, February 5, 2019
John Ameh, Abuja
A 27-year-old lady, Hannatu Muhammad, was among members of the Board of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on Monday.
The choice of the young woman from Jigawa State is in compliance with the provision of the ICPC Act, requiring a representative of the nation's youths on the board of the anti-corruption agency.
The new ICPC Chairman, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, is the fourth since former President Olusegun Obasanjo established the anti-corruption agency in 1999.
The other members of the board are Dr Grace Chinda (Delta); Mrs Olubukola Balogun (Lagos); Okolo Titus (Enugu); Obiora Iqwedebia (Anambra); Justice Adamu Bello (Katsina); Abdullahi Maikanu-Saidu (Niger); and Yahaya Umah- Daudu (Nasarawa).
Speaking at the event, Buhari said corruption remained the country's biggest setback to progress, adding that except it was contained, it would ultimately "kill Nigeria."
Buhari said on winning his second term, he would focus on the anti-corruption war.
Buhari added, "Corruption has negatively affected our political, economic and social life. Those opposed to our fight against corruption berate us for our focus, determination and single mindedness.
"They pretend that they do not know what corruption is, but Nigerians know what corruption is. Ordinary people know what corruption is and they support our effort and determination to fight it.
"The abuse of public office for private gain represents corruption in its worst form. The circumvention of public policies and processes for competitive advantage and profit is another form of corruption.
"The abuse of public office for personal benefit even if no bribery occurs is also corruption. The diversion of state revenue or misapplication of budgeted funds falls into the same category.
"I am particularly delighted that the ICPC law under which you will operate is robust enough to assist the government to sanitise the public sector of corruption in service delivery, public procurement, diversion of public revenue, deliberate misuse of public funds, and so on."
The President expressed concern that in spite of the war against official graft, some government agencies under-declared the revenue they generated on behalf of the government.
He stated that this must stop, adding, "We are determined to ensure that every agency of government accounts for public revenue generated or expended."
While responding on behalf of other members, Owasanoye praised Buhari, saying that he had the political will to combat corruption.
"We are lucky to be given this assignment because under your leadership, your unquestionable, unequivocal and unshakable resolve to deal with corruption is very well known.
"Therefore, the political will required to fight corruption is available. I pledge on behalf of the commission and members that we will do our best not to disappoint you or disappoint the country," he said.
Meanwhile, Buhari at a separate meeting with the South-West imams and Islamic scholars, warned against looting of the country's resources.
He said looters must be brought to justice.
"Any person who cheated or looted the nation will be brought to justice, irrespective of status of the person in society," he told the delegation led by Sheik Abdulrasheed Hadiyatullah.