The speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Tajudeen Abbas, has said unless Nigeria strengthened its rule of law and the fight against corruption, the country would not move forward.
According to Abbas, the law of the land must be worked in such a way that both the “big and the small” are treated the same way to give everyone a sense of justice and fairness.
The speaker stated these at a reception organised in his honour by the Nigerian High Commission in London on Sunday night.
He said: “In Nigeria, some people do whatever they like. You can commit any crime and go scot-free depending on the size of your pocket or the people you know. That has to go.
“Unless we are able to strengthen our rule of law to make it in such a way that it affects both the big and the small, and it doesn’t look at the face of whoever is committing an offence, we will never go anywhere,” he said.
Abbas in a statement by his special adviser on media and publicity, Musa Krishi also said, the country’s anti-corruption drive must also be strengthened for meaningful progress to be recorded.
He said one of the ways of realising that, was to look at the living wage of workers with a view to enhancing it to make them to be “honest and transparent” in their dealings.
“We need to also intensify the war against corruption. No society in this world can ever thrive and be what it wants to be if corruption is the order of the day. But I agree that for you to fight corruption, there are some things you need to do.
“Let’s take the example of the UK experiment or the Western world. Fundamentally, what they did was to sit down and say let’s look at what an average worker would need to be paid as salary. Come up with a living wage that will take care of the basics of a person such that he won’t be looking outside his lawful income.
“Today, if you’re a labourer in London, you will be paid enough for you to go and pay your rent, take care of your basics and still be able to have a fairly good living. With that kind of incentive, you don’t need to go and borrow, you don’t need to go and beg, you don’t need to go and steal,” Abbas said.
The speaker said the current Nigerian situation is such that; “an average worker earns less than what somebody can use to buy fuel to fill his car tank, you still want that man to be honest and transparent?”
Earlier, the Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Ambassador Sarafa Tunji Isola, said the reception was organised to honour Speaker Abbas “who has just emerged in a very popular election that is unprecedented. We are proud of his achievements in the past, and we wish him an impactful tenure.”