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Nigeria witnessing more corruption under democracy than military regime – HEDA

by Maryam Olaniyi
Olanrewaju Suraju (1)

The Chairman, Human and Environmental Development Agenda, Olanrewaju Suraju, says Nigeria has witnessed more corruption under the democratic regime than during the military era.

He made the assertion on Sunday during a dinner in Lagos to celebrate the organisation’s 20th anniversary.

Olarenwaju said, “The journey has not been funny, but we can remarkably say that we have contributed to society. It is becoming difficult to advocate human rights because of corruption, which is hindering the growth of the country.

“The corruption we see in civilian life is higher than what we used to have in the military regime. There is nowhere you can find a government that can fight corruption itself. Our leaders make it feel like the law needs to be changed, which is the reason Nigeria has the largest law in the world.”

Also speaking, HEDA’s Executive Secretary, Sulaimon Arigbabu, said corruption and impunity had stunted the nation’s growth.

“It appears that the story of corruption in Nigeria is like Boko Haram, and I hope corruption is not going to be part of our constitution. There is a bigger problem than the corruption of money, and it is the question of who leads our state.

“A hundred years of advocacy cannot achieve one year of power. The reason why it appears that we cannot solve the problem in the country is that there is corruption and impunity, and they have a strong grip on the resources.”

He added that the agency contributed to the state government’s decision to outlaw styrofoam because the drainage systems were congested.

“We challenged the government last year that they should ban styrofoam. We were one of the reasons why they banned styrofoam. The fight to bring Nigeria to a peaceful area has just begun,” Arigbabu said.

A lawyer, Monday Ubani, lamented the free fall of the naira, expressing the fear that one dollar may be exchanged for N3,000.

“The fight against corruption is a continuous one. Nigeria is a rich country, and the only problem we have is that those in power have taken control. It might get to a level where Nigeria might trade one dollar for N3,000 because the pound is already trading for N2,000.

“The people in power do not have any love for the country but for themselves. I do not know when we will have a country that we will be proud of, but I pray it happens soon,” the lawyer said.

In her remarks, Akinola Afolabi urged the public to adopt a more radical stance in the fight against corruption in the country.

“There will be more battles because Nigeria has not got to the place we want it to be. There is no electricity, and they plan to remove the subsidy, which will not make things better. I think we need to become more radical about the situation in the country,” she said

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