The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission has blamed limited funding for agency’s inability to effectively fight corruption at the nation’s ports.
The anti-graft agency in a statement on its official Facebook page also reiterated its commitment to tackling corruption at the Nigerian ports.
The ICPC Chairman, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, disclosed this when the Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Shippers Council, Emmanuel Jime, paid him a courtesy visit at the commission’s head office recently.
“Statutorily, we should assist but realistically, we are not able to cope due to limited funding and staffing”
Owasanoye noted that while Nigeria had the capability to realise and sustain a robust economy, its biggest challenge was inability to block economic leakages.
The ICPC boss explained that the nation’s economy was bleeding from the high level of corruption and corrupt activities taking place in the ports.
He restated that the situation had led to reputational damage to the country, adding that foreign investors no longer have an interest in investing in the country with many moving their investment to neighboring countries.
Owasanoye pledged the continued support of the commission in fighting corruption at the ports through the joint efforts of the Ports Standing Task Team.
According to him, the inability to have dedicated officers stationed at the ports on a full-time basis is affecting the anti-corruption fight at the ports.
“The commission is also in partnership with other agencies of government such as Federal Road Safety Corps, Department of State Security amongst others, to prevent corrupt activities and promote accountability and transparency in their processes”
He, therefore, maintained that the collaboration of both agencies would be in pragmatic ways.
Owasanoye assured of the commission’s readiness to explore the best ways to curb corrupt practices at the Nigerian ports.
Earlier in his address, Jime had expressed his gratitude to the ICPC for its collaborative support in the fight against corruption at the ports which according to him, improved the economic growth and development of the country.
“Since the adoption of the Nigerian Ports Process Manual, a lot has been achieved in the regulation at the ports including zero tolerance for gratification in cash and souvenirs, reduction of the average vessel demurrage and the average time for resolving complaints, savings of over $6m for the country from reduced demurrage costs, among other achievements”
He however requested for direct attachment of the ICPC personnel to the special intervention task force to carry out investigations and other operational activities that would enhance the enforcement drive against corruption at the ports.