Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu has appealed to Nigerians in the Diaspora to own the fight against corruption.
Magu who was a guest speaker at the Black History Month of the School of Business and Management Studies of the Queen Mary University of London said, for the fight against corruption to be effectively won in Africa, the job of fighting the scourge should not be left in the hands of the government or anti-corruption agencies alone.
In a paper titled “Taming Corruption: The way forward for African Development” the anti-graft czar said Africa has been baring the grunts of corruption for so long that developmental efforts of government gets truncated as corrupt individuals divert public funds to private pockets.
The presentation supports the view that corruption is one of the factors that contributed to the current predicament of the African continent.
The World Bank estimates that about $1 trillion are given out as bribe worldwide annually, representing about 3 percent of world GDP.
“There is another dimension of corruption in Africa that is worth mentioning because of its greater destructive potentials. This pertains to large scale corruption perpetrated by the ruling elite, top government bureaucrats, politicians, business men, bank executives, captains of industries in the private sector and the rest.
“For example, between 1970 and 1996, capital flight from sub-Saharan Africa through corruption totalled $187 billion, an amount that exceeded the external debts of the countries involved.
“This unprecedented financial pilferage, indulged by the African ruling elites and their domestic and foreign collaborators,ave produced two immediate consequences.
“Firstly, the huge amount stolen by them and taken out of the continent and hidden in safe havens in Europe, North America, Asia and other places have virtually crippled socio-economic development in Africa.
“Secondly, the corrupt acts of these unpatriotic African looters have grounded many private and public enterprises, pushing some countries to the verge of financial ruin,” he said.
According to Magu, throughout the African continent, corruption has caused severe wastage and misallocation of resources, delayed growth and socio-economic development through missed investment opportunity, lowered growth and widened inequalities.
“Likewise, corruption continues to decrease government revenues, undermine private sector development and increases inefficiency in the public sector,” he added.
Magu said these massive effect of corruption on the continent is what should raise a concern especially as corruption now discourages Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) by creating economic uncertainties, increasing operating costs, and distorting incentives for investment.
“Corruption is the single greatest obstacle to economic and social development”, he added.
He thanked the organizers for choosing such a topic and for initiation and engagement with stakeholders towards taming the corruption monster.
“Taming corruption is, therefore, the only way forward for Africa in its quest for economic development, political stability and social progress.
“Fortunately, the task of taming corruption in the continent is being undertaken by anti-corruption agencies within individual African nations, and through collaboration with a number of international agencies”, he explained.
The African Development Adviser to the Research Centre Tunde Alabi said they chose to have Magu speak about the Nigeria’s efforts toward eradicating corruption because of the milestone achievements the EFCC has recorded under him.
He stated that corruption has become a cancer in Nigeria and it requires the support of all Nigerians especially those in the Diaspora to use their voice and network to put pressure on Nigerian government to build a strong institution that will tackle corruption before it kills Nigeria.
In his reaction, the Director of the Research Center, Queen Mary University of London, Dr. Bakre Owolabi said that if Nigeria succeeds, Africa will succeed.
He added “It is the strategic policy of the Centre for African Research, Queen Mary University of London to look for African led solution to African problems”.
“Corruption remains the biggest problem facing Africa. The decision to invite Mr Ibrahim Magu to deliver a lecture at Queen Mary University is due to his record of achievements in office despite the challenges he faces”, Owolabi said.