Don’t spare our corrupt leaders, Soyinka tells EFCC


Nobel Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka yesterday urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti-corruption agencies not to spare corrupt leaders.

He said the nation cannot win the war against graft until justice catches up with the corrupt

Soyinka, who made his views known at the opening ceremony of the eighth Commonwealth Regional Conference for Heads of Anti-Corruption Agencies in Africa, said corrupt leaders should get ready to go down in status when justice catches up with them

He said: “That we have been bled dry in this nation by corrupt leadership and their agencies is nothing to reiterate. It is a given. And I took the trouble yesterday to visit the headquarters of the EFCC. I wanted to see what would be the mode of hospitality of some of our leaders who will surely, sooner or later, pass through the doors of that beautiful building.

“I am not a vengeful person but I think until we ensure that some of our leaders pass through those doors, this struggle against corruption in this country will not be won, will not be over.

“And so, I spoke to Magu and I said I want to see where the presidential wing is. I said as a human rights person, I want to make sure you treat them right when they come here and he said ‘sorry it is an egalitarian institution and I said I would take that message back to them that they should get ready to go down a little bit in status when the time comes and justice catches up with them.”

The Nobel laureate said for now, the responsibility of anti-corruption agencies should be to recover the rest of Nigeria’s stolen funds which could be used for development.

He added: “For now, your responsibility I believe is to help us recover the rest of the loot which is still flying all over the continent.”

Soyinka also queried the status of million dollars donated to a neighbouring Head of State by the the late military head of State Gen. Sani Abacha.

He said for posterity, the cash must be retrieved if it had not been done.

“Very specific, I said a certain sum of money was taken in a night plane to the head of state of a neighbouring country and if you can just help us recover that sum, it may be 50 per cent, given the resistance, it may be about 25 per cent and that way, it will help us not only to continue the war that existed but establish a principle that corruption is not just in one country. It is a responsibility of a collective group of people to fight it.

Many, many years later, I was justified because it became an issue in that country. I think you all know the country I am talking about. They raised a panel, explanations had to be given and up till now, I don’t know whether Nigeria has recovered the million dollars that was the figure.

“But at least, that was an issue of problem of conscience and this is exactly what I hope will emerge from this meeting.