The Chairman of the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre), Mr Olanrewaju Suraju, has pledged commitment to continue in the anti corruption crusade began by HEDA 20 years ago.

Suraju made the commitment on Saturday in an interview with newsmen at the 20th Anniversary Lecture of HEDA’s foundation in Lagos.

“We will continue to play the facilitating role that we have been doing.

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“We can only influence the process either for the duty bearers to discharge their duty or for the right bearers to claim their rights.

“It is more for Nigerians to take their destiny into their hands,” Suraju said.

The chairman argued that reforms within the Nigerian Police and the Judiciary was required to make the efforts of the anti corruption agencies a success.

” If we don’t have have an effective policing system with integrity in the country and if the judiciary is not acting as the last hope of the common man, there cannot be any progress.

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“Unfortunately we have been dealing with that of the police but we are also moving to that of the judiciary, so if you see what has been coming out from the judicial pronouncements lately, especially those charges with anti corruption.

“We might be having futile efforts from the anti corruption agencies because the anti corruption agencies can only investigate and then charge people to court and be prosecuted.

“It is the court that will make the final pronouncement; but where the court starts discharging those that were charged for corruption, then we are in big trouble, so, it will be very critical that the judicial system should continue to respond to the needs of the people by not discharging those that were charged for corruption.

“There is no doubting the fact that public officers in Nigeria are practically always guilty of corruption; so the judiciary cannot afford to be using technicalities in a country that is in dire need of sanitizing the system,” Suraju said.

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On HEDA’s partnership with the anti corruption agencies, Suraju noted that HEDA has partnered with most of the anti corruption agencies as the EFCC Chairman alluded to in his remarks .

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He said that the EFCC Chairman, Mr Olanipekun Olukoyede clearly admitted during his speech that HEDA has consistently pointed to them on many high profile corruption cases.

” Part of the things we have seen especially in my remarks about the judiciary is to see how we can use international mechanisms like the laws we have in the U.S and the UK like the Unexplained Property Order which allows the system to investigate properties that are worth over 50 thousand pounds.

“And quite a lot of Nigerians have properties in the UK, the highest among foreigners, these are Politically Exposed Persons.

“If you go to the U.S, it is almost the same thing and the good thing is that the US has passed what it called the Foreign Extortion Prevention Act.

“These are advanced expansions of the legal systems in foreign jurisdictions that can hold locals there who get away with fraud.

“These are the type of things we want to see: Where we have frustrations with the system back at home, we can actually deploy the foreign mechanisms to hold our Politically Exposed Persons accountable oversees.

He called for the independence of the anti corruption agencies, the reorganisation of the Code of Conduct Tribunal and the appointment of an appropriate head for the Code of Conduct Bureau.

“Appoint an appropriate head of the Code of Conduct Bureau; it is an agency that have not only constitutional powers but have a special court that can prosecute especially PEPs within the shortest time without necessarily going to court

“To reorganize the Code of Conduct Tribunal where the court must have regional courts of the Code of Conduct Tribunal for efficiency in the administration of justice,” Suraju said.