Friday 24 May 2024

Churches, mosques give front-row seat, altars to fraudsters, corrupt leaders: EFCC

Ola Olukoyede, chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, has called on religious leaders in Nigeria to play a more active role in fighting corruption and cybercrime.

Mr Olukoyede made the call on Thursday in Abuja at the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) meeting titled ‘The Role of Religious Leaders in Combating Corruption and Cybercrime’.

Mr Olukoyode noted the crucial role religious leaders play in shaping the moral fabric of society and urged them to use their influence to promote integrity and transparency.

“As leaders, you are supposed to be the embodiment of the virtues of honesty, integrity, compassion, and goodness. Some preach against corruption but have no scruples, yielding the front pew at worship centres to people of means whose sources of wealth are questionable. Religious titles are also sometimes given to persons of questionable pedigrees,’’ he said.

He also charged religious leaders not to ignore decadent behaviours and ethical rot among the flocks in a bid to guarantee the steady flow of milk from congregants.

The EFCC boss said, “The relevance of the clergy as a moral authority is being questioned by a number of practices. Among these is the emphasis on prosperity rather than righteousness. This has created the impression that instant wealth, irrespective of how it was gotten, is approved by God.

“We have seen situations where a fraudster visits worship centres to testify to the blessings of God after a breakthrough in fraud. We have seen politically exposed persons climb altars to testify about how God has used ‘His servant’ to uplift them only to be arrested for alleged fraud a few weeks later.’’

NIREC is a voluntary association with 50 members (25 Christians and 25 Muslims), formed by representatives of Nigeria’s two principal religions, Christianity and Islam.


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