The Independence Corrupt Practice and Other Related Offences Commission said on Thursday that the worst-hit victims of corruption were the vulnerable poor and the marginalised people of the society.
ICPC Chairman, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, stated this in Kaduna during the commemoration of the 2019 African Union Anti-corruption Day to create awareness on the menace of corrupt practices.
Owasanoye, who was represented by the state’s Commissioner, ICPC Kaduna State Office, Shehu Yahaya, said that millions of Nigerians were being denied basic social services due to corruption.
He said: “As we join our African brothers to create awareness on the menace of corruption and engender collective action, we need to understand the negative impact of corruption, particularly on the hopeless common man.
“With corruption, citizens suffer one form of denial or the other; in social services, physical infrastructure and employment with accompanied consequences on the general wellbeing of the people.”
He said that ICPC would continue to do all that it can to address corrupt practices associated with the social welfare sector known to have impacted negatively on the lives of the citizens.
He added that the commission’s new policy focus was to ensure effective utilisation of budgetary allocations for social welfare and human development.
According to him, the commission will use the provision of the law, especially non-conviction-based assets forfeiture to make more resources available for development.
He said: “The commission is currently tracking the execution of constituency capital projects across the country to ensure that the projects are properly executed and delivered to the communities they were meant for.
“Tax fraud and illicit financial flows investigation is also being conducted as well as prosecution of corruption and money laundering among others.”
Also speaking, Mailafiya Yakubu, Head, Economic and Financial Crime Commission, Kaduna Zonal Office, said that only sound moral upbringing will rid the society of corrupt practices.
Yakubu said that religious leaders have a duty of ensuring that people grow with good morals that the younger generation would emulate for a corrupt free society.
He said that while the elders were into embezzlement and money laundering because they were in the position to do so, the youth were using the information technology to their advantage.
He added: “When the youth have good teaching at home, in mosques and churches, they grow to desist from corrupt practices.”
He disclosed that the commission has arrested 18 youth in the state in the last six months, out of which seven have been jailed for various financial crimes.
He said: “We will continue to go after them until they desist from such acts.” Also speaking, Prof. Kabir Mato, Commissioner-designate, Kaduna State of Sports Development, accused religious leaders of encouraging corruption and urged them to join the fight through inculcation of moral values in the society.
He said that churches and mosques were only interested on the money people brought to them with no interest on how people got the money.
According to him, corrupt people are saint if they built a church or a mosque and whenever such people are being interrogated, the pastors and Imams would cry out saying they are being persecuted.
Mato therefore called on religious leaders to live up to their responsibilities of building a morally sound society where fairness, justice and equity thrive.