Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki has said that the Federal Government’s current approaches to the fight against corruption were not yielding results because emphasis was placed on punishment than prevention.
Also, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Gali Umar Na’Abba, has attributed corruption in the country to the failure of government.
Saraki, therefore, called for the prioritization of deterrence than punishment in other to win the ongoing war against corruption.
In his speech at the public presentation and signing ceremony of Senator Dino Melaye’s book titled: “Antidotes For Corruption – The Nigerian Story”, in Abuja on Monday, Saraki asserted that deterrence is a better approach to fighting the corruption scourge.
Saraki said, “I am convinced that we must return to that very basic medical axiom that prevention is better than cure.
“Perhaps, the reason our fight against corruption has met with rather limited success is that we appeared to have favoured punishment over deterrence.
“We must review our approaches in favour of building systems that make it a lot more difficult to carry out corrupt acts or to find a safe haven for corruption proceeds within our borders.
“In doing this, we must continue to strengthen accountability, significantly limit discretion in public spending, and promote greater openness,” he said.
Continuing Saraki noted,” The problem with that approach, however, is that the justice system in any democracy is primarily inclined to protect the fundamental rights of citizens.
“Therefore, it continues to presume every accused as innocent until proven guilty. Most often, it is difficult to establish guilt beyond all reasonable doubts as required by our laws. It requires months, if not years of painstaking investigations.
“It requires highly experienced and technically sound investigation and forensic officers. It requires anti-corruption agents and agencies that are truly independent and manifestly insulated from political interference and manipulation.”
He argued that the present administration has not met the standard of winning the war against corruption noting, “We must admit that we are still far from meeting these standards.”
The Senate President further observed, “Most often, it is difficult to establish guilt beyond all reasonable doubts as required by our laws. It requires months, if not years of painstaking investigations. It requires highly experienced and technically sound investigation and forensic officers.
Na’Abba, who was the chairman of the occasion, observed that corruption is an embodiment of deviant culture.
“As far as am concerned, corruption is not only financial. Corruption simply means deviance. Therefore, whatever we do and wherever we do it, we must understand that corruption is simply a failure of leadership whether it is financial or non-financial.”
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, urged Nigerians to be more responsive and cooperate with the government in the fight against corruption.
Earlier, Senator Melaye said that the harmful effects of corruption which must be tackled inspired him to write the book.
The event was attended by eminent Nigerians including former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, and the immediate past First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan.