World renowned playwright, Wole Soyinka has said that for the fight against corruption in Nigeria to succeed, the frontline anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) would have to take on some of the country’s former leaders.
The Nobel Literature laureate, said “until we make some of our leaders walk through those doors [of the EFCC new office]” the fight against corruption would not have the needed traction.
Mr Soyinka spoke on Monday at the opening of a meeting of heads of anticorruption agencies from Commonwealth Africa which opens in Abuja, the Nigerian capital.
Mr Soyinka said he was at the new office building of anticorruption agency at the weekend, “to see what will he the modest hospitality” for suspects.
The renowned writer said he asked the EFCC acting chairman, Ibrahim Magu, for the “presidential wing” of the cells, saying he asked out of his human rights concerns to ensure such personalities are well treated while in detention.
“But Magu said they are an egalitarian organisation that treats peoples equally,” he said to chuckles from the audience.
He said the anticorruption agencies need to fraternise more closely because “the criminals who collectively supply our raison d’etre have absolutely no qualms forging such cross-border operational alliances to perpetrate crimes and cover their tracks”.
The Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland also picked on the point of cross-border collaboration as basis for the conference.
She said the Commonwealth Secretariat takes the issue of tackling corruption seriously because of the level of squalor and deprivation on account of corruption globally.
Quoting figures from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC), Ms Scotland said Africa loses $148 billion per annum to corruption.
She therefore called for closer collaboration and peer reviews among African and other Commonwealth countries to tackle the problem.