The Executive Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Lamorde has decried the high level of moral decadence prevalent in the country which he said was the major reason for the perpetration of economic and financial crimes.
Lamorde made the remark in a speech on his behalf by the Commandant of the EFCC Academy , Ayo Olowonihi while declaring open a workshop organised by EFCC and the Interfaith Anti-Corruption Advisory Committee (IAAC) to Validate two anti-corruption manuals at the Commission’s Academy in Karu, Abuja on July 4, 2012.
He said it was a privilege to have clergymen and scholars gather to contribute their quota in the fight against corruption. “What you are doing for EFCC is so important to this fight both as an institution and as a country. This is because preachers and men of God hold a vantage position to reach out and talk to the average Nigerian in very powerful and convincing ways.” Lamorde said.
Decrying the level of moral decadence in the country, the EFCC boss said it was baffling that despite the message of “Thou shall not steal” in both the Holy Bible and Quran, many still steal from the commonwealth. “I hope, with a gathering like this, the heart of the problem which is moral decadence would be effectively tackled”.
Speaking during the event, chairman of IAAC and the Vice-Chancellor of University of Ilorin, Professor Ishaq Oloyede, said participants should not only see their job as a religious obligation but also as a national assignment. ”I know you have agreed to be part of this not because of any monetary gains, as there is none, but because of the good of the country and to be counted as those who have contributed to the fight against corruption.” He said the project was an advocacy step by EFCC and IAAC to reach out to Nigerians through teaching and preaching to those who attend mosques and churches, especially the young ones. ”This is to give the voice of God and His pronouncement to what the EFCC regard as crime and to show that they are equally sinful in both religions.”
Oloyede said the validity test was to look at the acceptability of the manuals vis-a-vis their compliance with the teachings of islam and Christianity. He stressed that the pulpit can be used effectively to fight economic crimes because of its strategic position to teach.
In his remark, the chief consultant of the Islamic manual, Professor Yahya Oyewole Imam of the University of Maiduguri , said the manual is intended to familiarize the Moslem Ummah with the offences of economic crimes especially as it relates to EFCC and Islam. He said the document is meant to be preventive and has forty (40) units addressing 13 themes of economic crimes as listed in the EFCC Act.
In addition, Professor Olabisola Olasehinde-Williams of the Peace and Strategic Studies of University of Ilorin and a professor of educational psychology and the chief consultant of the Christian manual said the manual is primarily meant for behaviour modification. She said, ”What we have done is to use the vehicle and platform of religion to tackle this intractable issue of corruption.”
Williams stated that EFCC and IAAC have chosen to educate Nigerians on the ills of corruption through the kladeiscope of their religions. “You can punish offenders, you can prevent the crime but when you educate there is no need for enforcement because it is part of prevention”, she explained. The University don affirmed that the EFCC law is rooted in the Bible and that what the manual seek to achieve is to let people understand that criminality is against both God and the State.
Other participants who spoke including a veteran journalist,Femi Abass, Professor Ibrahim Naiya Sada, Bishop (Professor) Zakka Bonnet and Dr. Habiba Oladosu Uthman agreed that religious leaders have a demanding role to play in the eradication of financial crimes. They generally posited that the manuals if properly used would help to put corruption in its rightful religious perspective especially as Nigerians are generally believed to be a religious people.
The IAAC Committee was established in August,27 2007 as an inter-face between EFCC and the faith based organizations to initiate and implement anti-corruption programmes for faith based communities. Participants at the workshop are leading lights in Christianity and Islam and the academia.
Media & Publicity Unit
7th June, 2012.