A former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Nasir El-Rufai, yesterday expressed his concern over the act of granting state pardon to convicted political office holders.
El-Rufai, while delivering a lecture on the topic “Corruption, and the Challenge of Good Governance’’ at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), said such act of pardon would encourage corruption.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), at the lecture which was organised by “The Companion,’’ an association of Muslim men in business, el-Rufai said giving state pardon to convicted political office holders would encourage many corrupt Nigerians.
He said it would also particularly give the youths the impression that corruption was something good and which people should get involved in.
“Pardoning convicted corrupt persons in Nigeria is sending a wrong message to the young ones,’’ the former FCT Minister said. El-Rufai said the nation was undergoing an interesting time, particularly with the insecurity situation in the northern part of the country.
He, however, said every concerned citizen should push for a society that is good for all.
The former minister pointed out that the insecurity situation in Nigeria was as a result of the failure of intelligence agencies which were also affected by corruption.
El-Rufai said corruption would always affect good governance when it was not checked, saying it had already affected basic societal necessities, such as electricity, infrastructure, water and security, among others. He said the root of corruption should be tackled, by improving the welfare package for members of the police force, a good wage for public servants, and punishment for corrupt persons.
“We should make it difficult for corruption to be consummated by reducing cash going round. We should remove what can push a honest person to corruption,’’ the former FCT Minister said.
The President of “The Companion,” Mr. Misbaodeen Oyefesor, said the lecture’s theme was due to the association members’ concern regarding the increasing rate of corruption in Nigeria.
“There is the need to check the spread,’’ he said.
Oyefesor said in spite of efforts of governments at all levels, it seems nothing was happening to check the trend.
On the Boko Haram insurgency in the north, he condemned the sect’s activities and described them as a barbaric group, saying his association has no relationship with them.
Oyefesor called on the political class to avoid violence during elections, while he commended INEC for a free and fair election in Ekiti.
“I want to urge INEC to do the same for the 2015 general election,’’ he said.
The association president called on Nigerians to support the government to fight insurgency in the country.
The Chairman of the occasion, Chief Lateef Owoyemi, advised that studies in how to avoid and stem corruption should be introduced in schools.
“This will help to check the trend from the grass roots,’’ he said.
The UNILAG main auditorium was filled to capacity by Muslim men and women.
These included the Vice-Chancellor of UNILAG, Prof. Rahamon Bello, and Muiz Banire, a former Lagos State Commissioner for Environment.