Winners emerge at Gani Fawehinmi Integrity Awards
To recognise efforts towards ensuring a safe and corrupt-free Nigeria, three winners have emerged in the Gani Fawehinmi Impact and Integrity Awards.
The awards, the second in its series, had three categories: Outstanding Integrity Award (OIA), Outstanding Impact Award (OIA), and the Valuable Whistle-Blower Award (VWA).
The two-day event launched the compendium of 100 high profile corruption cases in Nigeria and the awards, in Lagos.
During the launch, Senior Advocate of Nigeria and Human right activist, Femi Falana, called on citizens to get involved in the activities of the nation.
“We have collectively abandoned the governance of our country to a few individuals. We need to monitor budgets and ask question or challenge what we are told. We must insist that the taxes we pay be used to develop our lives. To redeem our culture we have to be politically organised,” he said.
Falana explained that corruption is nurtured and sustained by capitalism.
“Every capitalist state is corrupt. How come the bulk of the stolen money in Nigeria is warehoused by those countries? They sustain their system by using the money to develop their country,” he added.
Chairman, The Democracy Vanguard, Adebola Soetan, noted that among the 100 cases represented in the compendium, 38 involved former governors and some dated back to 12 years. It also cuts across all sector in the country; oil and gas, banking, universities or education, political.
Soetan noted that the system has promoted over-monitised politics, as it is no longer a service agenda but pure business. “We do politics as a business enterprise and nobody cares about community or social responsibility to the people that is why the corruption in government is great,” he said.
Co-ordinator of the African Conflict Prevention and Peace Network, Sina Odugbemi, called for swift judgement in high profile cases, as seen in other petty cases.
At the awards, Sergeant Bashir Umar, won in the Outstanding Integrity Award (OIA), category for the integrity displayed when he and his colleagues while on patrol at the Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano found $37,000 belonging to one Alhaji Ahmad. He had called the owner and returned the money. Other nominees in this category included Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Abba Kyari, and the Bornu State Governor, Prof. Babagana Umara.
Dr. Kadiri Kehinde a senior lecturer at the University of Ilorin, also won the Outstanding Impact Award (OIA), category to beat Pastor Tony Rapu and Imam Abdullahi Abubakar.
Kadiri won the award for using pictures to drive humanitarian projects to rural villages in Kwara State. She used her organisation, “The Grass Root Aid Initiative,” which gets funds through social media crowd funding platforms to provide clean and safe water to vulnerable communities in the country.
The Whistle Blower Award (WBA) winner was Murtala Ibrahim, Unit Head, ICT/Process Audit and Special Investigation Unit at the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN),/ who paid with his job for exposing corruption in the bank. Ibrahim, while receiving the award called for everybody’s support in fighting corruption in the country.
The event, organised by the Human and Environment Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre), and supported by MacArthur Foundation, was in honour of the late human rights icon, who died of cancer in 2009.
Speaking at the event, wife of detained journalist, Mrs Violet Agba, while receiving the certificate of recognition in the Whistle Blower Award (WBA) category, noted that Nigeria’s human rights is under threat, and urged citizens to speak up.
“It is time to speak with one voice to defend our unity and democracy as we have no other home. “Nigerians should not be intimidated with the current dictatorship displayed by the government,” she said.