Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, has stated that religious leaders always intervene whenever he wants to fire a corrupt public official. He made the statement at the 24th Nigerian Economic Summit plenary on corruption and rule of law, in Abuja.
The Vice president, who maintained that the government is doing so much to tackle grand corruption and systemic corruption, added that he has seen how much impact corruption can have on a country and its more than he ever imagined. The comment came after Ngaire Woods, the founding dean of Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University, asked the Nigerian Vice President to tell the summit who calls him when he wants to fire someone corrupt.
Yemi Osibanjo, a member of Redeemed Christian Church of Nigeria, said:
“I would like to refer to the Nigerian elite, and it’s probably not fair to be that broad, but practically, every segment, because people who have access to you, they could be political leaders, religious leaders, business leaders, whoever has access to you. We have a system where people just feel like, ‘why don’t you just give this guy a break?’ Which again is part of the problem. You don’t get one call, you get several calls” he said.
The Vice President who fired former director general of the Department of State Services (DSS),Lawal Daura, suspended Ayo Oke, former director general of National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and Babachir Lawal, former secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), added that one of the most frustrating parts of the fight against corruption for him is the slow pace of prosecution.
According to the VP, reforms are important, and the federal government of Nigeria has embarked on a number of them, including the criminal justice reform, but the federal government cannot reform state judiciaries. He concluded his speech by stating that the conviction of two former executive governors secured by the federal government has shown that the hand of justice may be slow, but it will eventually catch up.