Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo says the fight against corruption will become more difficult to the extent that many people will be discouraged to stand against it.
Osinbajo spoke during the 20th-anniversary regional webinar organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
The webinar was entitled, ‘Combating corruption and illicit financial flows: New measures and strategies’.
The vice-president, who described corruption as “hydra-headed”, however, said Nigerians cannot give up on the fight against the scourge because it is their collective responsibility to devise new ways of fighting it.
“The fight against corruption is nuanced and hydra-headed, it is not going to get easier by the day; as a matter of fact, it will get more difficult by the day and many will become discouraged in standing up against corruption,” Osinbajo said.
“But it is our duty both as individuals and institutions, especially in developing countries where corruption has such a devastating effect, to ensure that we prioritise the fight against corruption and continually devise new ways and new approaches even as the hydra-headed problem itself continues to manifest in different ways.”
The vice-president said the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has been “demonstrating the political will and support for anti-corruption measures”, which, according to him, has afforded all anti-corruption agencies in the country the freedom to do their work without interference.
Osinbajo said corruption must be made expensive to those who engage in it with necessary punitive actions.
He added that people who are ready to fight corruption, including whistleblowers, must be protected, as “corruption fights back”.
“We must make corruption expensive for those who engage in it and send the unequivocal message that corruption simply does not pay,” he said.
“It is the unenviable but noble task of the ICPC and other anti-corruption agencies to make corruption unattractive to its disciples and facilitate new approaches to stemming IFFS and promoting asset recovery and return.
“We must protect, even more, whistle-blowers – persons who come forward with information against corruption.
“We must protect those who are ready to fight against corruption and who are prepared to do so without necessarily disclosing their identities and even those who are ready to disclose their identities.
“The thing that we must take note of is that corruption fights back. And it is fighting back and it has the resources to do so.”