Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has urged Nigerians to change their perception about corruption toward developing a positive nation.
Osinbajo spoke at the launch of Corruption Busters by Creative Youth Initiative Against Corruption (CYIAC), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Lekki, Lagos State.
The event, according to a report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), was organised by the civil society group to commemorate the 2017 International Anti-Corruption day.
The Vice President shared the same view with Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) acting Chairman Ibrahim Magu, diplomats and civil society organisations at the event.
Osinbajo said: “We should re-examine ourselves and move toward changing our perception and our country will one day, overcome this menace known as corruption.’’
According to him, the president has always reinstated severally that, “if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will definitely kill us”, which is why he had given strict instructions on tackling corruption.
He said no nation could survive with the presence of corruption in its system, adding: “Corruption is one thing that will kill us if we don’t fight it hard indeed”.
“We need strong willed men and women who are committed to fighting corruption, though we have had notable committed persons but we need more people who are crusaders and zealous,” he said.
Osinbajo said one of the very important resources in tackling corruption was not just arresting victims and detaining them, but having to reform them.
The Vice President lauded the CYIAC group for taking a bold step in complimenting the efforts of the government by reaching out to the youths to join in the fight against corruption.
“I have not lost my zeal in this commitment to fight corruption, especially with the involvement of the young people who are vulnerable targets in building or losing integrity,” he said.
Mohammed hailed Foluke Michael, the project director, CYIAC and her team, for focusing their attention on the youths.
The minister said the move was the best step in tackling corruption.
“Targeting the youths is the best way to fight corruption because they are the future hope of our country and that is why the CYIAC group must be commended for taking this right step.
“The fight against corruption is the toughest task but can be much easier if we have the Nigerian youths because they represent a large chunk of the society,” he said.
Expressing his disappointment, the minister said the resources which would have been used to take care of the youths had been stolen by the “fat cats”.
“It is so unfortunate that billions and trillions of dollars that would have been used in providing good and necessary amenities were stolen by looters.
“But I want to reassure everyone that we are already driving corruption under the table by recovering billions of naira monthly, saving monies from ghost workers and raising our foreign reserve,” he said.
The minister said the Buhari administration would take the initiative to every nook and cranny of the country, stressing: “If we don’t fight it, it will overwhelm us.”
Also, United Nations Project Director Mr. Glen Prichard said the success of tackling corruption was to have a coalition of all arms in the struggle.
Consul-General of the Federal Republic of Germany Mr. Ingo Herbert hailed the Federal Government for waging war against corruption.
Herbert, however, said it existed everywhere in the world.
“Corruption is like a disease which exists everywhere but it becomes epidemic when it is too high and so should be vaccinated through anti-corruption groups as CYIAC,” he said.
Magu said the present administration had zero-tolerance to corruption because it was a setback to growth.
“The best strategy is to have all organs, young and old, coming together to fight corruption.
“It is a major force for underdevelopment and we are almost chasing it out,” he said.
A civil rights activist, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, said if Nigerians did not kill corruption, corruption would kill them.
The CYIAC group, comprising of school children and adults, displayed art exhibitions and animated clips on corruption busters in musical slides.