Magu launches ‘Clean Hands’ Campaign …say agency on course


Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu has charged Nigerians to imbibe the culture of ‘living with clean hands’  as a way of stamping out corruption from the society.
Magu, who stated that the job of EFCC entails confronting looters of the nation’s commonwealth, taking on impunity and restoring hope to the hopeless, said the Commission had been reshaping the face of law enforcement in Nigeria in the past 13 years.
In his welcome address titled ‘‘We Must Win The War on Corruption and Impunity’’  during the launch of EFCC Clean Hands Campaign on Thursday, at the Eagle Square, Abuja, the anti-graft Czar added that the Commission had kept faith with its mandate and the expectations of Nigerians.
‘‘In just six months of this year, we have secured over 140 convictions, including some elusive ‘high profile’ criminals. We have recovered billions of dollars worth of stolen funds and blocked numerous avenues of money laundering,’’ he said.
He also stated that the Commission had also given its prevention mandate a new lease of life, adding  the people were now fully informed of  its activities on all communication channels.
According to him, the new strategies being employed by EFCC had enabled Nigerians to take direct ownership of the war on corruption.
‘‘Citizens are now more disposed to preemptively act against corruption; and where the act has been committed, they are willing to work with EFCC to fish out the criminals.
‘‘However, in order to ensure that justice is fully served to the victim, the perpetrator and the society, it is important for us all to continue to hold everyone in the justice delivery chain accountable,’’  he added.
Magu also urged Nigerians to continue to mount ‘‘due pressure’’ on the Commission to carry out diligent investigation and prosecution and to inform the people of its activities.
He, however, charged Nigerians to also take more seriously their watchdog role over the members of the National Assembly, so as to make them more alive to their responsibilities to pass laws that are adequate and functional.
‘‘Nigerians must also take more seriously their watchdog role over the judiciary to meet the yearnings of Nigerians for justice,’’ he added.
In her address, the Co-founder of the Transparency International and Co-convener of the Bring Back Our Girls Campaign, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, urged every Nigerian to be involved in the fight against corruption.
Ezekwesili, who commended the vigour and commitment of Magu in the fight against corruption, said ‘‘If any Nigerian is serious at all about the necessity for the greatness of nation, then, he or she must take the fight against corruption seriously. This is because the consequence of not taking the fight against corruption seriously is that the nation will forever be mortgaged.
‘‘Nigeria is a country that the whole world agreed had incredible potentials to be one of the leading countries of the world.  As a matter of fact, at the time of Nigeria’s Independence, many around the world took a bet that Nigeria was the black nation that would likely put in hot pursuit all other nations of the world in terms of greatness that it had.
‘‘Sadly, 56 years after Independence, when some of those nations that took a bet on Nigeria look at what has become of the country, they ponder what has gone wrong.  But what has gone wrong is what the EFCC has been established to tackle.’’
Also speaking, the Chairman, House Committee on Financial Crimes and Anti-corruption, Kayode Oladele, said it was important to start the fight against corruption from the grassroots.
According to him, ‘‘from time immemorial, we always know that one of the things that the EFCC does is to investigate and prosecute people who are found wanting for breach of public trust and corruption. But we have found out that the people who lead us did not fall from heaven. They are part and parcel of the society. Therefore, if we want to ensure that we stamp out corruption, then, we have to start from the grassroots.’’
He also urged Nigerians to see themselves as fighters against corruption, beyond giving legitimacy to the work of the EFCC.
The EFCC Clean Hands Campaign, which kicked off with a walk by staff and management of EFCC, among other interest groups, also featured match past and choreography by a number of primary and secondary school students in Abuja.
The event was held simultaneously in all EFCC offices across the country.


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