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‘I agree with Jonathan, Stealing Different from Corruption’
A Nigerian priest, Rev. Edet E. Umoh, has said he agreed with Nigeria’s former president, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, that public office holders who steal from public fund should be prosecuted as thieves; not as corrupt people.
Preaching to his congregation today in Abuja, Rev. Umoh said although stealing and corruption are both social vices, “treating “common thieves as corrupt people” emboldens those that steal because they end up not getting adequate punishment for stealing”.
“I agree with (Goodluck) Jonathan that stealing is different from corruption. If you dip your hand into the public fund and take as much as you want just because you have access to the fund, what you have done is stealing, and you should be treated as a thief. People should not try to cover thieves with a wrapper of corrupt”.
Umoh, who hails from Nigeria’s Niger Delta region as Jonathan said, “In my place, if you call someone a thief, immediately you mention that word “thief”, people will gather and treat that person as a thief. But if you say that someone is corrupt, people may not even understand what you are talking about and the person will go Scot free”.
Jonathan in a media chat in 2015 said stealing is different from corruption and explained that: “A thief should be called a thief and treated as such. In my village, when an adult steals, they strip him unclad, humiliate him and his family, but if you say this man is corrupt, they won’t know what you are talking about. We are using corruption to cover it all up
“The CJN, Mustapha decided to take a look at the files that dealt with corruption and more than 80 per cent of them were just cases of stealing. But people use corruption to cover all. What I am saying is that let us go to the South-West and go to a typical community and they look at you and say this man is corrupt, people will be looking at you. But call that same man “ole”, that is thief, and see what will happen to him. Our people hate thieves more than corrupt people, yet most times, we use corruption to cover the lapses”.
The Nigerian clergy said both stealing and corruption are social vices and urged Christians to stay away from them.
The priest was lamenting “the prevalence of abuse of public offices” by both people who call themselves Christians and non-Christians.
He read from the Bible, II Corinthians 4:10-11: “That the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body…that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.”
The priest urged Christians to emulate “the Lord Jesus Christ” by shunning all evil practices like stealing, corruption and other social vices.
“You should come to God with true heart. The Bible says that worshipers should worship Him (God) in truth and in spirit. You must be in constant fellowship with other Christians. The Bible says that iron sharpeneth iron.
You need to come to God with a change of heart. You must approach God with complete change of character”, Umoh said.