Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, yesterday expressed his willingness to work with President Muhammadu Buhari to make Nigeria a corrupt-free nation, saying that sacred cows would not be tolerated in the fight against corruption in the country.
The Senate President stated this when the Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, Mr. Ekpo Nta, led other board members of the commission to brief him on the activities of the anti-graft body.
He said, “The 8th Senate wants to work very closely with Mr. President on this very issue and I am sure with the political will, both on the part of the executive and the legislative and the agencies, we might not be able to eradicate it completely, but we can bring corruption to a level that as a country, we can be proud of”.
Saraki expressed the commitment of the 8th Senate to the zero tolerance for corruption position of the Buhari administration and that he and his colleagues would do everything to make the job of the anti-graft agencies easy and successful.
He noted that most of the present problems confronting the country were a direct fall-out of the monumental corruption in the system.
The senate president lamented that corruption in the land has almost reached a crisis point hence the need for better collaboration by all national institutions to reduce it to the barest minimum, if not totally eradicate it.
“It is important for us to meet with you, to let you appreciate where we stand on the issue of corruption and to also listen to you for us to know some of the issues that are challenging to you because the ICPC, EFCC and Code of Conduct Bureau remain the most vital institutions in the fight that we are waging against corruption today.
“We want to make the anti-graft war a priority for the Senate because we believe that it has got to a stage where it is truly endangering the entire system and some of the symptoms that we are seeing in the areas where it is affecting our national development is becoming more and more clearer to all of us”, he added.
Saraki noted that the cost of corruption in our national life goes beyond financial cost, saying that corruption has manifested in the inability of state governments States to pay monthly salaries, education and health sectors not being well funded and other social services collapsing.
“We are seeing it in the state of our schools, the impact on our education. We are seeing it in the state of our health institutions and the impact on maternal and child mortality. We are seeing it in the ever increasing cost of governance, failure of public institutions and infrastructures.
“I am sure that when we all went round to campaign, one of the promises we made to Nigerians was that we have to fight corruption and as people elected by Nigerians, we must keep fulfill that promise and we have taken it upon ourselves that one of the deliverables of the new dispensation is to bring an end to corruption.
“For the 8th Senate, making corruption a priority is a must and we are committed to that and our goal is to work with you, the EFCC and the Code of Conduct Tribunal to reduce significantly the level of corruption in our system.”
Earlier, the ICPC boss, Nta, said tackling corruption requires that the substructures that support corruption in the system be addressed before going after the “symptoms of corruption.”
Nta said: “Public officers have been put through a lot of destabilization during the changes. They have not had pensions paid and all these had accumulated to the point where they have to resort to self help.
“We discovered that if the civil service is working optimally and the shortcomings are addressed, the issue of corruption would be made unattractive”, the ICPC boss said.

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