Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, says the issue of corruption is not something that can be eliminated completely out of any community, just like prostitution and other vices.
Dogara said this when he spoke with some Editors in Abuja recently. The speaker says he lacks the English word to describe anyone who thinks he can eliminate corruption totally.
“I know we have promised to open the books and we will definitely open the books, certainly. I however don’t know in what form the corruption is said to be.
Let me first say that the parliament is not something that exists outside of Nigeria, and the issue of corruption itself is not something that can be eliminated completely out of any community, just like prostitution and other vices.
What you can do is to reduce it to the barest minimum, to a level that it is almost seen as non-existent. The advanced countries that we try so much to copy or speak so glowingly about do have issues with corruption too in spite of what they have been able to achieve.
It is not that corruption has been eliminated 100 per cent. We have seen this hydra-headed monster called corruption rearing its head even in elections of certain jurisdictions.
Clearly the signs are there, but our collective effort is that we reduce it to the barest minimum. I lack the English word to describe anyone who thinks he can eliminate corruption totally.
To eliminate it totally will amount to eliminating the totality of the human race, because no human being is clothed in perfection. All we can do is to reduce it to the barest minimum. You can imagine a situation where we have the death penalty against vices like armed robbery, but as you are shooting them, somebody is busy robbing somewhere.
So sometimes you can’t phantom the nature of the human mind, because you think that by the time you apply the maximum punishment, people will run away, screaming if they catch you, they are going to kill you, I won’t do it.
But as they are executing armed robbers, some people continue without care. Even when they are executing drug traffickers in some countries, more people are still doing it. So you see it is a battle that we will continue to fight.
There won’t come a day when Nigeria will sit and say we have eliminated corruption, this is a perfect society, let’s work on. That is one notion we must discard. If we are ever going to achieve that, then there won’t be need for institutions like the EFCC, ICPC or even the Police.
They have been fighting crime since the age of Nigeria, but there are still crimes. So the National Assembly is not an institution that exists on its own. It is part of the society and I cannot say you cannot trace any iota of corruption to the affairs of the National Assembly.
Honestly speaking, there could be cases, but the point is when we discover them, they should be properly apportioned punishments. Not just to express dissent but apportion punishment that is appropriate; punishment that is capable of deterring others” he said.