Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Alumni Holds Lecture
To effectively combat crime, and the concomitant instability this creates in a country, it is necessary to effectively address corruption, which is clearly the key contributing factor to impunity in any country.
This is the submission of the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Terence McCulley at the 20ll Annual Lecture of the Herbert H. Humphrey Fellowship Alumni Association of Nigeria.
Covenant University delegates led by the Director, International Office and Linkages, Dr. Nnamdi Ekeanyanwu were present at the lecture which took place at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Lagos on Wednesday, November 9, 2011.
In his keynote address titled “The Challenges of Law Enforcement in Nigeria: Taming the Culture of Impunity”, the US Ambassador stated that, “Corruption hinders sustainable development, erodes confidence in democratic institutions and facilitates transnational crime and terrorism.
“Addressing corruption is a key to combating emerging transnational criminal threats today, we see in many countries that criminals and other illicit actors subvert and undermine state functions to a point that official institutions become a de facto criminal enterprise. This is particularly problematic when military, police, border control, and justice system officials align with drug traffickers, gangs and criminal insurgencies”.
Mr. McCulley argued that government officials sometimes aided criminal elements in many forms. He said, “In some cases, corrupt officials may actively work for criminal organizations – supplying them with information or providing other services. In the worst case scenario, a government may effectively cede complete power and authority to a criminal group, allowing them to form their own territories – criminal states within states – and power networks”.
He commended President Goodluck Jonathan for what he called laudable transformative agenda intended to redress decades of bad governance and move the country forward.
The ambassador also belief that Nigeria’s anticorruption agencies need strong leaders of unquestionable integrity, and credibility who are willing to take on vested interests, identify and prosecute corrupt officials and end the climate of impunity.
He cited an example of the appointment of Professor Atairu Jega by President Jonathan to head INEC and assured him of help from the US government and people.
“I hope Mr. President will demonstrate similar courage and vision in identifying an individual of equal credibility and integrity to take on the challenge of corruption. When he does, the United States will stand ready to help”, he said.
Mr. McCulley however sounds a note of advice, “This fight will not be easy”, but promptly assured that, “Know that as you pursue this, you have a friend and partner in the government and people of the United States of America”.
Also in his remark, the Chairman of the occasion and Patron, Herbert H. Humphrey Fellowship Alumni Association, Nigeria Mazi Sam Ohabunwa identified illiteracy and sluggish judicial system as some of the problems faced by Nigerian. He advised that Nigerians should be educated in order to know their rights and also create job opportunities.
Dignitaries at the event include Anthony General of Lagos State and Commission of Justice Honourable Justice Ade Ipaye who represented the governor Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola and Honourable Justice Ayisat Opesanwo who represented the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Honourable Justice Inumidun Akande.
Other dignitaries from the Embassies, Armed forces, Police, Civil Society Academia and the Press were also at the occasion.