Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, at the weekend, expressed anger at how some Nigerians stole from the nation’s treasury.
Dogara, therefore, urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to not just arrest people, but also ensure they were put behind bars to serve as a lesson to others.
“If you look at the massive looting of the treasury, actually, I have been in government for quite some time, I never, never could have imagined the scale of corruption that we are witnessing, where people took lots of money running into billions and buried them in farms,” he said in a chat with newsmen.
“As we speak, they are recovering monies from someone’s farm somewhere around Abuja. It is very unfortunate, where people stole money just for the sake of stealing. If you were the one who was in charge of fighting corruption, you would have even been shocked by the scale of the problem.
“I guess part of the problem we have is that the scale of the problem far outweighs the anticipation of the agencies. So, if care is not taken in the process, we may not get things right. They will have to keep their heads level to be able to be in charge of this fight and do it effectively.
“You will recall that the fight against corruption is one of the cardinal promises that Mr President made before assumption of office. He had cause to say that we have to kill corruption before corruption kills us and I know he is committed to fighting corruption to a stand still.
“The process of doing that has become a subject of concern to some people. The EFCC is actually the agency, as we all know, that is in charge of this fight and if you look at what it has done so far, there is even a discussion as to whether they are proceeding in the right direction and whether it is not time for us to sit down and do an assessment of how the fight has been, in view of the fact that in the last one year I do not think there has been any major conviction.
“And it has always been a case of this person has been arrested and detained and some things have been done or he has been charged to court and then the story ends there. Whether we will succeed in fighting corruption, if we continue in this way, only God knows.
“If the end is just to arrest people, charge them to court and, thereafter, nothing happens, no one is convicted; because conviction, even if you are not jailed, has a way of deterring people. But if I am just arrested, charged to court and maybe some money recovered from me and at the end of the day, nothing happens, a lot of people may not be deterred in the future from engaging in corrupt practices.”