Deputy Director of Reforms at the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Dr. John Magbadelo, on Thursday in Abuja introduced a new twist to the recruitment scandals rocking the nation’s federal civil service with a call on anti-graft agencies to probe the process of employment, promotions, postings and deployments in the public service.
Magbadelo said processes in the federal service “are riddled with corruption,” and that the country lost over $400bn to corruption over a period of 33 years between 1966 and 1999.
“The cancerous rot which has continued to impair the growth of potential of this country seems to have defied every therapy. It was estimated that Nigeria had lost to corruption as much as $400 bn between 1966 and 1969. Yet corruption in Nigeria preceded 1966 and has continued ever since even beyond 2007 with greater ferocity and intensity,” he said.
The Ministry official spoke during the public presentation of a book entitled, “Anti-corruption Campaign in Nigeria (1999-2007): The politics of a failed reform” written by a senior lecturer in the Department of Political Science, University of Ibadan, Dr. David Enweremadu.
Magbadelo, who was the reviewer of the book, noted that employment, deployment and promotions were sometimes not given in the public service unless the beneficiary parts with bribe.
While suggesting that the Judiciary should purge itself of graft, Magbadelo also urged the anti-corruption agencies to look into the recruitment process in the civil service in their effort at fighting corruption.
He said, “Corruption in the public service has taken on new forms and this requires that out anti-graft agencies match up with the new manifestations of corruption. In the public service, for instance, aside from outright embezzlement of funds, budgets are often not implemented as approved.
“The accounting officers erroneously believe that they have the right to implement the annual appropriation Acts of their MDAs the best way that suits their fancy. Illegal virement of funds from one vote head to another in criminal breach of the Appropriation Act is a recurring phenomenon in most MDAs.”
He added that the anti-corruption war should be fought with renewed vigour for the country to be great again.
“Our anti-corruption agencies must deepen their collaborative efforts and be proactive in all ramifications. They should frustrate the plans of culprits to impede the wheel of justice through frivolous court injunctions”, he said.
He described the book as a wake-up call to the anti-corruption agencies to beef up their capacities and rejuvenate the confidence of Nigerians in their effectiveness.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, Mr. Ekpo Nta, who was the chief host of the event, noted that efforts such as the book were what the Commission expected from the academia.
He said, “It’s not a mistake that we are partnering with the academia to fight corruption. If you don’t do well in theory, you won’t have a good practice.”
He added that in as much as he might not have agreed with all the conclusions of the author as an outsider to the anti-graft agencies, the Commission would consider the good recommendations of the book.
Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Alhaji Isa Bello Sali, represented by Alhaji Ibrahim Nikau, said that despite all efforts aimed at curbing corruption, it had remained a cankerworm but the fight against it must be embraced by all if the goals of Vision 2020 more to be achieved.
-----------FRIDAY OLOKOR, ABUJA/PUNCH, FRIDAY, MARCH 1, 2013