Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki has come out openly to condemn corruption, calling the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation the country’s engine room of corruption. This came barely 24 hours after his wife, Mrs. Toyin Saraki, made headlines for being wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Saraki was speaking to the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, in his Abuja office, Thursday July 23, and pointed out that it is the small fries that get tried for corruption whereas the biggest looters in the NNPC have been spared for so long.
“When you look at the anti-corruption agencies, with all due respect, you will find out that 80% of the cases are at the state level. You hardly see where people who are the real engine room – which is the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation – where most of these corruption cases on oil are, being put on trial” he said.
In Saraki’s opinion, government needs the cooperation of all workers to defeat corruption, affirming that President Muhammadu Buhari was committed to fighting corruption. He added that the Senate had on its part started the process by engaging the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission with the EFCC next on its agenda.
“We in the 8th Senate have said there will be zero tolerance for corruption. Corruption is one issue slowing down development and some of the problems we are tackling. Whether you talk about our refineries not working, you talk of the issue of fuel subsidy, you talk about the high cost of governance, everything you talked about comes back to this issue of corruption and I think it is time for all of us, those of us in the National Assembly, the Executive and the workers to show serious commitment.
“This should not be a headline-grabbing approach because at the end of the day, you are workers; when you talk about oil theft, we have Nigerian workers at the terminals who surely must know when this thing is going on. Everywhere that there is corruption, some workers are there either participating or observing. We now have a great opportunity to win the war against corruption because we have a leadership led by President Muhammadu Buhari that we believe has the political will to do the right thing” he said.
He said the excuses of Nigerian workers that when they blow the whistle on corrupt practices nothing would be done because the system is corrupt right from the top, was No longer tenable because the current administration in the country has the political will to deal with the scourge.
Saraki said, “We are assuring you that at the executive side, we have elected the President that will do it well. I am making the commitment on behalf of the National Assembly and myself that we are committed to fighting corruption.”
The senate president’s wife, Toyin Saraki, has been invited to appear before the EFCC on Tuesday July 28 to explain all she knows about certain state-awarded contracts that have been linked to companies she has links with as first lady during her husband’s tenure as Governor of Kwara State.