The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Mustapha Magu has called on faith-based organizations to rise to help in the fight against corruption by teaching their faithful the tenets of moral uprightness and integrity as a canon of all religions.
Magu who spoke through the Zonal Head, Ibadan office of the Commission, Mr. Mohammed Rabo, made the call while delivering a paper at the 7th Tri-ennial National Delegate Conference of the National Council of Muslim Youth Organizations held in Ibadan, at the weekend.
“Every religion teaches the fear of God and abhors every behavioural digression that promotes moral decadence, impurity and all forms of vices including corruption”, he stated.
Quoting Prophet Muhammad, Magu said: “Whoever amongst you sees something wrong he should change it physically – using his hand, if he is not able to do so with his hand, he should change it orally – speaking out in condemnation against it. If that is still not possible, he should detest it in his mind; this constitutes the weakest level of faith”, he urged.
According to him, given the teachings of the above hadith and the corresponding dictates in other religion, there is no reason why all and sundry who believe in the commandments of God, particularly Muslims should not be in the forefront in the fight against corruption and other vices in the society. The strength or weakness of our faith can be measured by our ability or otherwise to stand up to and challenge those committing evil acts, including those acts that negatively impact our social, economic and moral well-being”.
He lamented how people now thump up religious sentiments whenever they are called upon to account for any alleged misdeed.
“It is sad to note that the corrupt, using sponsored people claim that they are being prosecuted because of the region they came from, the religion they profess, or their ethnic identity. They do their utmost not to answer the all-important question of whether or not they were guilty of the corruption allegations against them”.
“When we arrest and prosecute individuals for economic and financial crimes we are oblivious of their region, religion or ethnic identity. What we see before us are men and women who have done something wrong and who should answer before the law courts”.
In any case, who among the corrupt and those engaged in financial and economic crimes does so in the name of his or her region, religion or ethnic group?, Magu asked. “Each and every person we have interrogated and prosecuted cornered resources meant for their people to private use, only to turn and appeal to those same people they have impoverished – whipping up ethno-religious sentiments”, he stated.
“In other words, there is nobody who steals for his religion, his ethnic group or his region; it is for the same reason that we also do not investigate nor charge suspects to court on any of those grounds”.
Speaking further, he said: “Whatever religion we profess, the onus is on all of us to rid our country of Corruption. Everybody must be ready to be a solution to the problem of graft. The Youths must form a vanguard against corruption and make themselves ambassadors of integrity, shun the infamous fast lane to wealth. They should be a gadfly to their parents by questioning any momentary wealth and ostentatious living”