Stop Trying To Punish The Corrupt, Just Deter It, Saraki Campaigns

Senate President Bukola Saraki has faulted the style adopted by President Muhammadu Buhari in the ongoing fight against corruption in Nigeria.

He submitted that deterrence approach should be preferred to punishment in order to make meaningful progress in the campaign.

Saraki made this position known in Abuja on Monday during the public presentation and book-signing ceremony of Dino Melaye’s book entitled: “Antidotes For Corruption – The Nigerian Story”.

President Buhari who assumed office on May 29, 2015, won the presidential election on the plank of tackling insecurity, fighting corruption and fixing the economy.

The Senate President also hit the anti-corruption agencies, accusing them of doing show-service and seeking public applause in the discharge of their duties, stressing that this attitude was a major setback in winning the war against corruption in the country.

On why 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 argued that the reason the fight against corruption had not yielded fruitful result in the first two years of the present administration was because Buhari preferred punishment to deterrence in his campaign against  attitudinal disease that has eaten deep into the socio-economic fabrics of Nigeria system.

Accordingly, he called on the executive arm of government  to review this punishment approach and adopt a method that would encourage corrupt persons who had stolen the nation’s resources to keep them within the country’s borders for the benefit of the country and the citizenry.

He insisted that applying preventive measures to tackling corruption would be more result-oriented that the current punitive measures, which put fears in looters and other corrupt individuals, making them conceal what they had stolen from the national treasury.

He said that Nigerians needed more openness and transparency in the way and manner government business was being conducted in the country in order to win public confidence, which according to him was currently lacking.

The Senate President also stated that for the crusade against corruption to succeed in Nigeria, the anti-corruption agencies must be independent and thoroughly insulated from political interference and manipulation.

He lamented that the prevailing situation in the country at the moment did not allow the agencies to work freely, thereby, resulting in the abysmal performance of the agencies in actualising the purpose of their creation.