Osinbajo warns against bribing officials for licence, passports


Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has warned against giving bribes to government officials to obtain driving licences, passports or to clear goods at the ports.

Osinbajo spoke on Tuesday in Abuja while declaring open the anti-corruption conference tagged ‘Collaborative Approach to Eradicating the Evils of Corruption in Nigeria’.

The event was organised by the Office of the Vice-President and Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption.

Quoting PricewaterhouseCoopers, Osinbajo said Nigeria’s 2030 Gross Domestic Product could be up to $534bn higher if it reduced corruption.

According to him, no matter how much revenue a country makes or how transformative its plans are corruption can ruin everything.

He said the Muhammadu Buhari administration was intensifying its efforts to tackle high-profile corruption cases to move the country forward.

He said the enforcement of Treasury Single Account, the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit and ensuring that most civil servants were on the IPPIS electronic platform had helped greatly in checking theft of public funds.

The VP said the judiciary had also helped in the fight against corruption.

Osibanjo said, “The Supreme Court in a lead judgment of Akaahs JSC recently held that forfeiture under Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offenses Act is a civil process which neither requires the criminal conviction of the property owner nor his innocence.

“This opens the door for the forfeiture of assets that the purported owner cannot explain, whether or not an allegation of corruption is made.

“We are now poised to deal with the wider problem of systemic corruption, especially where the average person interacts with government.”

The VP added, “There is no reason why any Nigerian should have to give a bribe to law enforcement agents to obtain driving licences or passports, or to clear goods at our ports.

“All the relevant government agencies have shown a serious commitment to eradicating these forms of corruption. Our next level is to create the environment for a collaboration between our agencies, civil society and other stakeholders.’’

He said it was in recognition of the enormity of corruption in the country that Buhari set up the PACAC in 2015.

Osinbajo said the PACAC deserved commendation for its contribution to the fight against corruption and setting agenda for important conversations on the subject.

The chairman of the PACAC, Prof Itse Sagay, said information and intelligence sharing among anti-corruption and security agencies was critical to the fight against corruption.

He said the security agencies were blamed for the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States and the recent attack in Sri Lanka because they failed to act on or share intelligence.

Sagay added, “Against the above background, the PACAC developed a protocol on information and intelligence sharing for anti-corruption and law enforcement agencies and intelligence community.

“The recommendations of that roundtable were not only apt, but were imperative for the successful collaboration and information sharing among the anti-corruption and security agencies.”