The United States ambassador to Nigeria, William Stuart Symington, has said that disregard for justice and rule of law was a more damning form of corruption than stealing of public funds.
Symington said this while responding to a question from the members of the audience after he delivered the convocation Lecture of the University of Ilorin, on Monday.
The US envoy spoke on the topic “Citizen Leadership and the Link between Economic Diversity and Democratic Good Governance.”
He said the task of making Nigeria is that of both the government and the citizenry.
Symington said that patriotism, and transparent service, justice, and consistency were important factors to development.
According to the envoy, “What many consider as the great corruption is stealing of money but what to me is the great corruption is when people are deprived justice, when you do things without regard to the rule of law.”
Speaking on the lecture, the US envoy said the process of making Nigeria great requires a collective effort of all the stakeholders with the citizens working with the government instead of only relying on government for an improved fortune.
The Ambassador said security and other challenges in the country would be surmounted when the citizens unite and work together.
He continued, “One of the most important things that I want you to leave today with is the idea that good governance can only come from Strong independent citizens.
“So, I think the right answer is there is no person who can make Nigeria more secure.
“There was that time in Nigeria when security was not the job of only the soldier and the police, but every village chief and every person who lived in the town were involved.
“There is no police force in the whole world that keep the neighbour hood safe all by itself. If you have such a police force, I would not want to live in that neighbour hood. Every security in the world derives from the support of the people in the place that is insecure.
“If you will have the tenacity to change Nigeria, look around you right now and change the life of one person today.