Ayuba Wabba, President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has called for stiffer penalties against corruption towards tackling the menace in Nigeria.
Wabba said this at a roundtable dialogue with labour, trade and other unions tagged “Positioning the unions as active drivers of anti-corruption in Nigeria” in Abuja.
He said Nigeria had remained underdeveloped with a poor educational system, weak health institutions and abandoned projects, due to corruption.
He said it was high time Nigeria made the people the centre point of every development agenda, to address the problem of corrupt and abandoned projects.
‘‘Part of the recommendations we made which have not received attention is the onus of proof, if you are seen with a car and your earnings can’t foot it, I should report you.
“It is happening in other climes. We also said there should be capital punishment for corrupt people especially our political elite, it is happening in China,” Wabba said.
He said it was high time the NLC collaborated with civil society organisations towards addressing the evils of corrupt practices in Nigeria.
He said in other climes, the point of development was a people-centred approach.
“In Nigeria, it is pocket centred approach, because politicians enrich themselves instead of the people,” Wabba said.
He said Nigerians viewed politics as an investment attending to their own needs instead of that of the people.
“The priority of our political elite is white elephant projects that do not have a direct bearing on the lives of the people and in most cases, those projects will end up as abandoned projects.
“If you ask government officials today in the three tiers of government how many abandoned projects we have? Nobody can give you the correct account of those projects.
“This is how those projects were initiated, this is how some of the funds are diverted and that is why we have a mirage of projects that are abandoned,” he said.
Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu, Convener, Say No Campaign and Executive Director, Peering Advocacy and Advancement Centre in Africa (PAACA), said the aim of the event was to fight corruption by ensuring budget implementation and service delivery.
Nwagwu said the partnership became imperative because there were over 2000 abandoned projects across the country in spite of huge resources expended.
Prof Bolaji Owasanoye, Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), represented by Mr Obiora Igwedibia, a member of the board, commended the group for the initiative.
The roundtable was the group’s seventh of such engagement in the country and it was sponsored by the Mac Arthur Foundation.