Take active role in fight against corruption – EFCC urges religious leaders

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The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ola Olukoyede, has called on religious leaders in Nigeria to take a more active role in the fight against corruption and cybercrime.

Olukoyede made the call on Thursday in Abuja, at the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council, NIREC, meeting titled: “The Role of Religious Leaders in Combating Corruption and Cybercrime.’’

Represented by Mr Wilson Uwujaren, acting Director, Corporate Affairs of the commission, he noted the crucial role religious leaders play in shaping the moral fabric of society and urged them to use their influence to promote integrity and transparency.

Olukoyede lamented that in spite of Nigeria’s rich human and mineral resources, corruption has hindered the country’s development, perpetuating poverty and insecurity.

“Ethnic identities and religious backgrounds of looters made no difference so far their fingers were on the till, hence the need for collective energies to defeat the common enemy,” he added.

NIREC is a voluntary Association made up of 50 Members, (25 Christians and 25 Muslims) formed by representatives of the two principal Religions – that is Christianity and Islam in Nigeria.

He said Nigeria has all it requires- human and mineral resources to truly be the giant of Africa but was held back by corruption.

Olukayode said that citizens lived in a country where most public officers see public office as an opportunity for accumulation of wealth.

He said it was difficult to explain that Nigeria, though touted as one of the most religious societies in the world, also took the prize as one of the most corrupt nations in the world.

Olukayode said it was unfortunate that not many of today’s preachers are living proof of scriptures.

“Some preach against corruption but have no scruples yielding the front pew at worship centres to people of means whose sources of wealth are questionable.

“Religious titles are also sometimes given to persons of questionable pedigrees,’’ he said.

The EFCC boss also charged religious leaders not to close their eyes to decadent behaviours and ethical rot among the flocks in the bid to guarantee the steady flow of milk from congregants.

“The relevance of the clergy as a moral authority is being questioned by a number of practices. Among these is the emphasis on prosperity rather than righteousness.

“This has created the impression that instant wealth, irrespective of how it was obtained, is approved by God,” he said.

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