Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, on Friday, said prevalence of corruption in the country was widespread, not limited to any sector or agency.
He stated this at the award of certificates to participants of the second edition of Certificate Course in Corruption Prevention in Keffi, Nasarawa State.
The course was organised by Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria (ACAN), the research and training arm of ICPC.
Owasanoye was represented by an official of the commission, Mr Abdullahi Maikano.
He said that the course participants cut across various sectors of public service, and included those from Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), Inland Waterways, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).
The chairman said that corruption became deep-rooted and widespread in the country when individuals across the board, in their various positions and roles, engaged in corrupt practices.
He said that, while certain agencies had greater exposure by the nature of their activities and revenue generating potential, public sector corruption was not localised to particular agencies.
“Rather, the corruption prevalence is widespread.
“Thus, while the course is primarily targeted at practitioners in the anti-corruption agencies with prevention as part of their mandates, it has also been made available to all public sector agencies,” he said.
Owasanoye said that corruption prevention was one of the most fundamental aspects of the fight against corruption, stating that for acts of corruption to occur, they required certain elements to be in place or absent.
“The need to fight corruption at the prevention level has never been more urgent as our national anti-corruption agencies have an urgent responsibility to enhance the prevention element of their mandates.
“Revelations of the enormous damage to our national life by those entrusted with power and office over the past few years point in the direction of the proverbial, prevention is better than cure,” he said.
He explained that corruption did not just occur, it was perpetrated by individuals through deliberate acts that took advantage of loopholes in the system or even sought to create one.
Owasanoye called on the participants to be part of the rays of anti-corruption in their various spaces.
In his remark, Provost, Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria, Prof. Sola Akinrinade, said that the course was aimed at building a corps of anti-corruption practitioners in the country.
He said that it was also to develop the capacity of agencies to be able to tackle corruption internally.
Akinrinade said that the ACAN Certificate Course in Corruption Prevention was the product of a support from United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC).
He said that the need to fight corruption at the prevention level had never been more urgent and that the national anti-corruption agencies had an urgent responsibility to enhance the prevention element of their mandates.
Akinrinade added that the academy’s philosophy was that corruption and related crimes could be controlled or managed through a system of training and re-training geared toward sound policy formulation.
“The task of preventing corruption is not one for anti-corruption agencies alone, but for all of us,” he said.
The student declared best in the course, Mr Musa Usman, of the CCB, said that he was now well-informed on the ills of corruption and would contribute his quota in the war against corruption.