Corruption should be punishable by death in Nigeria, labor leaders said Wednesday in the capital city of Abuja. Their call falls within a broader effort by President Muhammadu Buhari, who took office in May, to fight graft and other forms of corruption considered rife in the West African nation.
“If such capital punishment can happen in China, India and South Africa, it can also happen in Nigeria," Ayuba Wabba, president of the Nigeria Labor Congress, said, Nigeria's Premium Times reported. "Whatever measure that will address the issue of this mind-boggling corruption in the country, NLC will support it."
Nigeria ranked 136 out of 176 countries on Transparency International's corruption index in 2014, scoring just 27 out of 100. For the vast majority of Nigerians, corruption worsened from 2011 to 2013, according to Transparency International. Buhari has often blamed his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, for leaving Nigeria's treasury "virtually empty," in part as a result of rampant fraud, and has vowed to stamp out corruption.
Meanwhile, Babatunde Fashola, the manager for Buhari's finances during his campaign for the presidency, is at the center of a corruption scandal. Fashola was recently accused of misusing funds during his stint as governor of Lagos state. He left $2.1 billion in debt to his successor.
Nigeria's posterboy for anti-corruption facing allegations of corruption http://t.co/YR7KfqHYlE
— Guardian news (@guardiannews) September 8, 2015
Labor officials insisted Wednesday that it was up to government officials to root out corruption, saying it hurt ordinary Nigerians. Bobboi Kaigama, president of the Trade Union Congress, blamed much current corruption on the fact that government workers hadn't been paid their salaries for eight months. Kaigama said government officials should start declaring their assets and called for the creation of anti-corruption courts.
“As organized labor, we firmly believe that the political leadership of our country must act decisively to get us out of the brink of disaster that greed and primitive accumulation [of wealth] through open looting of our commonwealth in the last six and more years, has brought us to,” said labor leader Wabba.