Simeon Olusola Oguntimehin, a former member of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), has called on President Muhammadu Buhari's administration to further strengthen the country’s anti-corruption agencies in order to effectively fight the scourge of corruption.
Mr. Oguntimehin, who made the statement in an exclusive interview with a SaharaReporters correspondent in Akure, Ondo State, also said the issue of corruption could only be overcome if the anti-corruption agencies in the country are given the freedom to operate without compromise.
He averred that the major challenges facing the anti-corruption agencies in the country include inadequate manpower and working tools, noting that sufficient funds should also be budgeted for the anti-graft agencies to effectively fight corruption.
“The anti-corruption agencies should be on the first line in terms of funds and budgeting in order to effectively perform its role. This is why the government needs to do more to strengthen the anti-grafts in addressing the issue of corruption, which is now a cankerworm to the development of the country.”
According to him, despite the establishment of democratic institutions in the country, the scourge of corruption has been one of the biggest challenges impeding the progress of Nigeria.
Mr. Oguntimehin, who is also the Lisa of the Ondo Kingdom, lamented the hardship being faced by the Nigerian people, noting that corruption is becoming rampant among public officers and has penetrated and destroyed virtually all public institutions in the country.
He added that the funds meant for the nation’s development and economic progress were being looted and converted for self-aggrandizement as a result of nepotism, noting that there is need for President Buhari to speedily strike a balance between the twin malady of corruption and Boko Haram that has become the bane of Nigeria’s progress.
The former anti-corruption crusader also called for the independence of the judiciary and said there is need for the separation of power and office among the Attorney General of the federation and Minister of Justice for effective checks and balances on the excessive activities of the government.
“It’s unfair to have one person holding the same post of Attorney General and Minister of Justice together because the Minister was nominated by the President and it would be difficult for an individual to confront such a leader to tell him he has corrupted the system,” Mr. Oguntimehin said.
The former ICPC member advised the federal government not to give much priority to past events against the present economic woes bedeviling the country and also tasked the various tiers of government to enhance their political will in tackling corruption.
He also clamored for the need to establish ICPC offices in the thirty-six States of the federation in order to make it easier for whistle-blowers to report issues of corruption.