President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday expressed concern over the outright looting of public funds by some Nigerians.
Jonathan expressed the concern while swearing in the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC), Mr Okon NTA, and five new permanent secretaries at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Those sworn-in as permanent secretaries include Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, Alhaji Sani Bala, Dr James Obiegbu, Mr Femi Jegede and Mr John Gana.
The president, therefore, called for more partnership among the three arms of government – executive, judiciary and legislature –to collaborate and fight corruption in the country.
He particularly tasked the anti-graft agencies in the country to devise means of checking outright stealing of public funds by unpatriotic citizens.
President Goodluck Jonathan
“I know as somebody who read widely about animals that humanbeings are born greedy by nature. But we must stop people fromstealing and taking what does not belong to them.
“In any society that you allow people lose, you see people doing the wrong thing. So, we must stop people from doing the wrong thing.
“I also use this opportunity to appeal to all Nigerians, for us really to confront corruption the way we want to, everybody must be involved.
“All arms of government, the judiciary, the parliament must be involved; all individuals and all corporate bodies including NGOs, civil societies, community-based organisations and even faith-based organisations.
“If people donate money to you that you are not too sure of the source of money, please, return it.
“If we must fight corruption, all of us must frown at it. You don’t give a chieftaincy title to somebody you don’t know the source ofincome.
“That is my thinking; that is my belief. If you do that, you are encouraging that person to be corrupt.”
Jonathan, who pledged never to interfere in the activities of the anti corruption agencies, expressed confidence that the ICPC andthe EFCC were in the position to reduce corruption in the country.
“Every day, you hear Nigerians talk about corruption, corruption, corruption because that is why during Obasanjo’s administration, ICPC and EFCC were created or established by Acts of Parliament.
“We believe that these two agencies are in the position to reducecorruption.
“As a president, I promise you that I will give you the free hand to do your work. I will not interfere with your function.”
Jonathan also called on the newly sworn-in permanent secretaries to use their wealth of experience to bring meaningful changes in the civil service in order to boost productivity among civil servants across the country.
“Let me use this opportunity to plead with the permanent secretaries and indeed the entire civil servants of the federation to work with us to make sure that we change this country.
“This country belongs to all Nigerians and we must make sure that we get to where our other contemporaries are.”(NAN)