The Federal government’s attitude to reports and allegations of corruption against government officials have been described as lackluster, uninspiring and the main reason for the booming corruption in Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs.
The assertion was made on Wednesday by the Communication and Advocacy Director at Make A Difference Initiative, Lemmy Ughegbe during a radio program, PUBLIC CONSCIENCE produced by the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development, PRIMORG.
Ughegbe who was reacting to separate Premium Times investigations exposing payment of a whooping N3.08 billion into the private accounts of 42 staffers of the ministry of Agriculture, and N2.4 billion into the private accounts of 25 staff members of the Health ministry, said he was not astonished by the revelations given antecedents of the current administration.
According to him, corruption has always been a problem in Nigeria, however, the report lends credence to beliefs that corruption is heightened under President Muhammadu Buhari administration due to his actions and inactions.
“In a government that rode on the mantra of incorruptibility and to fight corruption, any semblance or device of corruption you deal with decisively so as to discourage others.
“Now we have seen a government that looks at faces, deodorizes corrupt people who are in their own circle and put others who are not to trial,” Ughegbe said.
He added that the disbursement of such huge amount of public fund into private pockets of government officials was the reason for the decay in Nigeria’s Health system and Agric system which is caused by failure of the leadership, lamenting that President Buhari has not shown enough intolerance for corruption.
Ughegbe called on citizens to realize the powers they have and unite against lack of accountability by leaders, amongst other forms of corruption.
“Citizens must know that the biggest office in the land is that of the citizens, therefore, we must know our strength. We must de-emphasize ethnicity and religion. One of the first ways of getting it right is if we can unite and insist on reform of our Electoral Act,” He said.
On his part, Premium Times reporter, Yusuf Akinpelu said the government’s lack of political will was the reason perpetrators of corruption in government offices are not always punished.
Akinpelu noted that the financial infractions by Health and Agric Ministries contravenes the Civil service rules, lamenting that the disbursement of funds should have gone through corporate accounts instead of private accounts which gives room for corruption in the sector.
He decried anti-graft agencies lack of action against the ministries and the government officials involved in the fraud despite publishing the report and vowed to continue reminding them of the investigations until concrete action is taken.
“What is emboldening corruption in government ministries is the fact that people are not punished. After the investigation, Premium Times reached out to ICPC, EFCC and NFIU to take action. We will continue reminding and pressurizing them until something is done,” Akinpelu assured.
Several participants who called into radio program through the phone called on government to fight corruption decisively and punish officials in the MDAs who contravene the extant regulations and laws.