It is indeed my pleasure to address you this morning and to welcome the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption to Plateau State on the occasion of her state level activity against corruption in Nigeria. Your choice of Plateau State as the pilot state for this activity is a wake-up call to all workers in all spheres of public, civil and private workforce in the state to be cautious and be guided by financial laws and regulations in all monetary transactions.
It is worthy of note that both the Executive and the Legislative Arms of Government have just been inaugurated and consequent upon this, new leaderships and political appointees are emerging to drive the process of governance for the next four years, the critical focal point of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the National and State levels is the sustenance of the fight against corruption. No one is left in doubt that the bane of the slow pace and process of development in the nation is corruption, which has eaten deeply into the fabric of our society. Government is leaving no stone un-turned to unravel all aspects of corrupt practices so as to allow for good governance, infrastructural development and economic rebirth, which will bring about the needed peace and security. It is for this reason that l also consider your choice of the theme: VALUE REORIENTATION AND THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION; and the selection of participants for this one day state level activity as not only apt but very commendable.
President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR has categorical made it clear from the inception of the APC led administration since 2015 that he will lead a government with zero tolerance for corruption and that anyone found enmeshed in corruption will surely face the wrath of the law. All anti graft agencies have been strengthen and allowed the proper and adequate usage of the laws establishing them. There are clear indications under the current dispensation that the war against corruption will be very intense. I urged all stakeholders of our national polity to therefore support this noble initiative.
At this juncture, let me call on our traditional rulers and religious leaders alike to join in this war against corruption by interrogating the processes that leads to the conferment of chieftaincy and religious titles on their subjects or members respectively, in order to weed out corrupt persons who may want to take advantage of such noble gesture for image laundering. Similarly, as a government we shall make every effort to ensure that civil servants comply with civil service rules and regulations as well as other extant laws and critical values to promote good governance.
Before now, everyone believed that the fight against corruption is only centred on the executives, but the case is now diverse, the legislatures, the judiciary and all sectors of the economy are under watch. It is on this note that the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) just commissioned investigators to verify constituency projects executed by immediate past Senators and Members of the House of Representatives. This noble activity will trickle down to the state and the local governments for the purpose of probity and accountability. It therefore means that contractors too and all citizenry who are found to connive or aid corruption will surely face the law.
For the same purpose the media, the judiciary, law makers, civil society organizations and operators in our education sector, lawyers as well as women, youth, security agencies and operators in the informal and organized private sectors needs no invitation to join in this fight against corruption. It is your sacred duty to join in this fight because you are critical arrow heads of this war ravaging our society. What this means is that all hands must be on deck to ensure that we succeed or win this war otherwise posterity will not forgive us. We must resolve to check corruption otherwise it will kill us.
On our part as a government we shall continue to partner with the State Directorate of the National Orientation Agency in Plateau State for massive public awareness on the adverse consequences of corruption on our polity. Also we shall ensure that in this dispensation, appointees are considered for appointment if found worthy in character and devoid of any corruption charges and or records. May I also reemphasize that we shall continue to maintain zero tolerance for corruption. In addition we shall also encourage the legislature to mainstream justice, fairness, integrity, godliness and a zero tolerance for corruption in their legislative and oversight functions.
Lastly, all citizens have a civic duty to support the war against corruption. Corruption will continue to fight back but our collective resolve is greater than the combine forces of corrupt persons in this country. The victory is ours to celebrate if we build the right synergy against corruption.
On this note, distinguished ladies and gentleman, members of the press, it is my pleasure to declare this program opened to the glory of God and the benefit of humanity.
Thank you and God bless.
RT. HON. SIMON BAKO LALONG.