Religious Leaders Frustrating Our Anti-Corruption War – Osinbajo

Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has said religious and elite leaders in the country form a major fraction of those frustrating the anti-corruption fight of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

Speaking during a session on ‘corruption and the rule of law’ at the ongoing 24th Nigerian Economic Summit, in Abuja, on Monday, Osinbajo lamented how he has had to deal with phone calls from religious leaders who at many times call to plead with him whenever he is on the verge of sacking a corrupt public official.

At the session moderated by Ngaire Woods, the founding dean of the Blavatnik School of Government and professor of Global Economic Governance at the University of Oxford, the Vice President identified another frustrating challenge in the fight against corruption as “the slow pace of prosecution”.

Osinbajo said, “I would like to refer to the Nigerian elite, and it’s probably not fair to be that broad, but practically, every segment, because people who have access to you, they could be political leaders, religious leaders, business leaders, whoever has access to you, we have a system where people just feel like, ‘why don’t you just give this guy a break?’ Which, again, is part of the problem. You don’t get one call, you get several calls.

“The Buhari administration is doing so much to tackle grand corruption and systemic corruption.

“Since I became the vice president, I’ve seen how much impact corruption can have on a country.

“I was commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General of Lagos State for eight years. One of the most frustrating parts in the fight against corruption is the slow pace of prosecution,” said the Vice President.

On his part, Chairman of Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), Asue Ighodalo, said earlier that the summit aims to examine the challenges facing effective governance in the country.

“This summit shall analyse the constraints to effective governance and institutions using five pillars, which together, provide a framework for distilling delegates’ perspectives and recommendations. The pillars are: corruption and rule of law, effective public institutions, sustainable economic opportunities, participation and citizens’ rights and human development.

“The overarching objective of this summit is to stir up discussions, create and share a unifying narrative on good governance and strong institutions and, thereby, focus our governments at all levels on the critical and urgent task of moving 87 million of our people out of extreme poverty,” said Ighodalo.

This year’s leg of the summit was themed “Poverty to prosperity: Making Governance & Institutions work.”

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