Former Military President Ibrahim Babangida said on Sunday the level of corruption in Nigeria today was unprecedented.
Babangida, who stated in an interview with Trust TV, said his liberalization policy was emulated by former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
The Minna-born former army general ruled Nigeria from August 27, 1985 to August 26, 1993.
He was forced to step aside following the crisis that trailed the controversial annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election.
Babangida said: “ The level of corruption in Nigeria today is unprecedented. I sacked a governor for misappropriating N300,000. Now there are people — we read in the papers, thank God there are papers to read and social media and so on— who steal N2 billion, N3 billion and nobody is saying they are corrupt; only us because we are military, that is all.
“ “I still maintain that we are saints, If you compare somebody who is accused of stealing N3 billion and compare him with somebody who took N300,000 then I think we are saints.
“ I sold an idea on how to tackle corruption in Nigeria but because it came from me, nobody likes it, nobody will like to hear it.
“Identify areas of corruption and attack them from the source. I read in one of the newspapers where a judge was complaining that they are not well remunerated by the public and that is a sure source of corruption.
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“Wherever you have a system where you have a lot of control there will be corruption.
“So what did we try to do? We got the government not to be involved in things like production.
“Anything to do with ‘I have to come to you and you will always think you are doing me a favour, so maybe I should reciprocate it’; that is the sort of thing.
“And that is why we introduced freeing the economy; you don’t need a license to be graded A for your groundnut or cocoa or cotton or whatever it is.
“You don’t need to go to the Central Bank or to go to banks to get foreign exchange.
“There are Bureaux de Change. They set it up in market areas, where you can easily go and get it.
“So the sources of corruption have to be identified and attacked.”
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