President Jonathan has admitted that Nigeria is dealing with endemic corruption in government and the military. He made the admission during the burial ceremony of Andrew Owoeye Azazi, the former National Security Adviser.
The President however downplayed the effect of corruption on social malaise. He chose instead to blame the attitude of Nigerians as the reasons for the myriad social malaise.
He said, “It is true that most cases, we talk about corruption as if corruption is the cause of most of our problems. No. Yes we have corruption in this country, no doubt about that. The government is also fighting corruption.
“From 2007 that I moved to Abuja with the late President (Umaru Yar’Adua) till now, we have had three chairmen of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and acting heads of the ICPC. Probably Nigeria has more institutions that fight corruption than most other countries.
“We have the conventional police that deal with stealing. We have EFCC that handles corruption bordering on economic issues and we have ICPC that handles pure corruption matters.
“But most of these things we talk about corruption are not even corruption. I remember the last meeting we had with the immediate past Chief Justice of Nigeria when I tried to build the three arms of government to see how we can collectively suppress corruption.”
The President was responding to remarks made by the cleric, Bishop of Bomadi Catholic Diocese, Vicarage Hyacinth Egbebor, at the funeral ceremony.
Egbebor blamed the death of Azazi on corruption. He said, “Corruption is the only underlying evil that is responsible for the air mishaps. If the military cannot guarantee the safety and security of their own, who else can they protect?
“If there is anywhere one looks for excellent performance, it is the military. Now we have compromised excellence for money. Money has taken over,” he said.
“We might not need a plane to fly because we are not certain that our aeroplane is worthy enough. This crash is probably three in less than 12 months. Let us not pretend that we can fly as if we are in Europe. Human lives are so precious; please spare our lives,” he added.