Prof. Emmanuel Nnadozie, Executive Secretary, African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), says fighting corruption is not only about law enforcement, but also an issue of people’s mind set.
Nnadozie, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja, said that Nigerian government must ensure proper engagement of the youths.
“I think it was the head of state that said if Nigeria did not destroy corruption, corruption will destroy Nigeria and i completely agree with that.
“No country can stand massive levels of corruption, otherwise it will completely destabilise the economy and it will be in ruins.
`Fighting corruption is not just an enforcement issue, it is a mind set issue as well.
“We have to start educating young people so that they can think differently about corruption. so that they don’t believe that what they see is the way things should be done,’’ he said.
According to him, Nigeria should also fight corruption effectively, but with respect to the rule of law.
He said that maximum penalty must be given to anybody found guilty, irrespective of who he or she would be.
He called on government to ensure that positive change in mind set and societal values, stressing that issues of patriotism must be upheld.
Nnadozie said that for Nigeria to survive, it must pay attention to the issues unifying the country and issue of creating a nation where people must be patriotic.
“I have been to other African countries and if you see how proud they are about their countries, but you can never see that in Nigeria.
“I think Nigeria is one of the few countries in the world that when you introduce yourself as a Nigerian, its not enough for people, they have to ask you which tribe you come from, which ethnic group you come from.
“Believe it or not, it is Nigerians who are actually promoting this because they will not stop at telling you they are Nigerians, they will tell you am Hausa, igbo Yoruba and then they will start telling you good things about their tribe,’’ he said.
The expert said that some of these attachments to tribe and regions made some people to come into leadership at the federal level to loot money.
He called for the creation and strengthening of institutions that would either prevent corruption or would fight it.
These institutions, he said, included the National Assembly, law enforcement agencies, justice system, audit and procurement departments, auditor general, media and civil society organisations.
“There is need in strengthening all these and the need for strengthening capacity in these areas as well as institutional capacity so that they can play their role effectively,’’ he said.
The expert said his Foundation would honour any request by Federal government on building capacity of the staff of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission.
He said that the Foundation had written a book on corruption with Nigeria as a case study, adding that the book had identified major areas that needed to be addressed in fighting corruption in the country.
“It depends on what the government thinks, if there is any role that we can play in supporting the anti-corruption crusade, we will completely subscribe to it,” he said (NAN)