Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Between Preventing And Fighting Corruption


Corruption is not new in the world because the archives reveal that God actually destroyed the world as a result of corruption and that God later regretted his action of destroying the world owing to corruption. That God regretted of destroying the world as a result of corruption clearly demonstrated one fact that brute force cannot combat corruption rather the prevention is preferable. On December 31, 1983, when Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (now President) ousted President Shehu Shagari from office, he pursued an anti-corruption war with brio.
He ruthlessly dealt with the following politicians: Vice President Alex Ekwueme, Governors Ambrose Ali, Ape Aku, Chief Adekunle Ajasin, Chief Lateef Jakande, Chief Bola Ige, Sam Nbakwe, Bisi Onabanjo, Jim Nwobodo, Abba Musa Rimi, Awaal Muhammed Ibrahim, Melford Okilo, of Bendel, Benue, Ondo, Lagos, Oyo, Imo, Ogun, Anambra, Kaduna, Niger and Rivers States respectively were tried in a military tribunal headed by Air Vice-Marshal Muktar Mohammed without being accorded fare hearing in regular courts. His victim-governors were not granted bail so they spent all the period of their trial in custody as if they were already convicted! This negated the 1979 Constitution which was operational at the time Buhari seized power. A section of that constitution presumed every accused Nigerian innocent until proven guilty. At the end of the preordained trial, the captives were handed sentences ranging from 21 to 144 years but that didn’t curb corruption in the country!
This is why in his second coming, one expected President Buhari to have acted differently on his war against corruption but this is not the case. Buhari has started again with his archaic method of combating corruption. Just like in 1984, he is busy arresting and prosecuting perceived corrupt Nigerians without considering how to prevent corruption. It is pertinent to note that it is much easier to prevent corrupt than to combat it, that is why in places like America and Great Britain, the emphasis is on preventing corruption rather than combating it.
Brute force has not stopped or reduced corruption anywhere in the world and will not do so in Nigeria. Has capital punishment discouraged armed robbery and drug peddling? This is why former President Goodluck Jonathan should be commended for applying unconventional method to combat corruption; blocking the loopholes. The removal of middlemen from the distribution of fertilizers helped that administration to save about N1.1 trillion in one year! So also was the introduction of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) which also helped  to removed 50,000 ghost workers from the Federal Civil Service leading to the saving of N160 billion in a year. The Treasuring Single Account (TSA) that has unified the varied accounts of government is a veritable tool for preventing corruption. Innovations such as the online banking and the use of Automated Teller Machines which enable account holders withdraw money from any branch of their banks has also helped to reduce armed robbery attacks in homes and the highways. This is so because Nigerians no longer keep huge sums of money at homes that will attract armed robbers or convey huge amount of money on transits simply because they want to buy goods in other parts of the country. This was not possible before the banking reform where one could only make withdrawals from the branch of the bank where the account is domiciled.
Other measures that can help in preventing corruption are explained below. Strong institutions that accord everybody equal treatment help to prevent corruption. The use of technology in payments also helps in no small measure in preventing corruption. Availability of infrastructures, housing and social amenities are potent tools for preventing corruption. This is so because when the citizenry no longer contend with the provision of water, electricity, housing, education, security etc. by themselves, the temptation to be involved in corrupt practices will reduce drastically.    
It is necessary to state that it is much easier to prevent corruption than to combat it. This is why Buhari should employ preventive measures in order to curb corruption rather than engage in combating corruption which is cumbersome and also near impossible. He should also learn from America and Britain the techniques these two countries have employed in preventing corruption.



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