Osinbajo said this on Monday at the University of Ibadan during a book presentation of the Ibadan-based elite group, House of Lords.
While maintaining that President Muhammadu Buhari’s government has sustained the fight against corruption, Osinbajo said the level of corruption in the public sector corruption is shocking.
“When you look at the sheer amount of money that have been embezzled, the sheer amount of money lost from any of these various cases of corruption, you will find that far too much has been lost,” he said.
“It was discovered a few days ago that the total amount of money lost just to corruption in part of…and provision of security equipment in the military is closer to $15 billion.
“The nation’s foreign reserves is now around $27 billion, and this is more than half of the current foreign reserves of the country.
“The Buhari presidency is trying to ensure that there are consequences for corruption and we try to send a message that anyone who is found to have been corrupt would not only dislodge the property they have stolen, but will also pay for it in terms of the sanctions of the law.
“I believe strongly that it is important to send a message that no public officer can steal the resources of this country and expect to escape. I hope the message would be loud and clear and it will inform behaviour in the future.”
Osinbajo harped on the need to promote the values of integrity and hardwork in the society.
Citing the example of Singapore, the VP noted that the “tiny, resourceless island is richer than most of sub-Saharan Africa with its vast resources is values: hard-work, integrity, innovation promoted by a committed elite. Thus the custodian elite especially in largely poor and illiterate societies has a huge responsibility”.
“The limits of the growth and development of most nations largely depend on the strength of the value-driven influence of their elite, indeed it is evident that the reason for the development and growth of most societies is not resources, but values,” he said.
“To a large extent, the ethical space has been vacated by the Nigerian elite. In its place are all manner of excuses and false justifications of bad behaviour. Today ethnicity and religion protect corruption and abuse of power. Mediocrity is encouraged by the subjection of merit to variations of quota systems. Quotas are not in themselves wrong, but must be the exceptions not the rule.”