A civil society, YIAGA Africa has disclosed that Nigeria lost at least $582 billion to endemic corruption since independence.
The group further revealed that about N1.3 trillion of public funds was reportedly laundered between 2011 and 2015 alone.
Programme Manager for Yiaga Africa, Cynthia Mbamalu stated these during the National Debate Competition on Anti-Corruption in Abuja recently.
According to Mbamalu, the development is not surprising due to the fact that the nation ranked 149th of 179 countries on the 2020 Corruption Perception Index of the Transparency International.
She explained that the debate was part of the bounce corruption project which was launched by Yiaga Africa in 2017 to mobilise 20 million Nigerians in the fight against corruption and demand accountability.
She maintained that through the debates, the views of young Nigerians would be harnessed into the fight against corruption as well as for propagating the values of integrity, transparency and accountability.
Mbamalu said: “Not only that, a December 2019 report by the National Bureau of Statistics on the patterns and trends of corruption in Nigeria revealed that young people are most likely to give or receive bribes, with at least 60 per cent admitting to having given bribes. These bribes are given for a variety of reasons, but most especially to obtain a government service, speed up a procedure or avoid paying a fine.
“When this data is placed side-by-side with the high rate of youth unemployment and underemployment which is 42 per cent and 21 per cent in a country which has millions of young people finishing their studies with no job prospects, it further increases the pressure on them to offer bribes in order to secure jobs.
“As such, it has become important to engage young Nigerians on how to fight corruption and enshrine integrity, accountability and transparency into the fabric of our society, and in our public and private sectors.
Also, Secretary, National Union of Campus Journalist (NUCJ), Uchenna Igwe noted that corruption can be noticed in every challenge facing the country today.
Igwe said corruption is the main reason why Nigeria struggles to feed and provide jobs for its citizens, as the cost of living continues on a steady rise.
He said: “Due to the greed and corruption of a few, hundreds of thousands of lives are lost annually to preventable diseases, crime and insecurity.
“We must shun and condemn corrupt practices, imbibe good values and lead good examples in our homes, campuses, hostels, workspaces, religious and social fellowships, even as we interact with people in our communities every day.
“We must speak out and speak up. Then, we must also walk the talk. Corruption will not budge if we don’t get actively involved.”
– The Nation