Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has called on the Federal Government and National Assembly to make the anti-corruption law stiffer to serve the purpose of deterrence against white-collar criminals in the country.
Reacting to the public outrage that greeted the two-year sentence passed on a pension crime convict, the former Vice President explained that the issue brought to light the major defects of the anti-corruption laws.
Atiku said that “President Obasanjo submitted a stiffer draft law which, however, was watered down by the then National Assembly.”
He said rather than trading blames, Nigerians should also look at the weaknesses in these laws and call for urgent review of the laws.
According to Atiku, the purpose of punishment is deterrence and the ultimate desire to produce remorse in the hearts and minds of offenders.
This, however, could not be achieved, he said, when the punishment is made so light as to make criminality attractive.
The Turaki Adamawa regretted that a situation where the majority believes the law is designed against the poor or petty offenders is not too good for the credibility of the anti-corruption war.
He particularly warned that the recent outrage over the light conviction of the pension offender could send the wrong signal to the international community about the seriousness or sincerity of Nigeria to fight corruption.
The former Vice President maintained that the existing penal provisions of the anti-corruption laws make it impossible to impose punishments that fit the gravity of the offences committed by white-collar criminals.
The former Vice President, who played an active role in the formulation of the anti-corruption laws and creation of the EFCC, said more than a decade after, it was high time the provisions of the law is reviewed to strengthen the commission and the anti-graft war.