ActionAids engages stakeholders in fight against corruption
For the fight against corruption to be attainable, it should be considered the business of every Nigerian, to complement efforts of the Federal Government and anti-graft agencies.This was the submission of participants and stakeholders at the Strengthening Citizens’ Resistance Against Prevalence Of Corruption (SCRAP-C) Project, a Stakeholders’ Dialogue, organised by ActionAids Nigeria (AAN) in Kano.
The two-day event, tagged: Enhancing Citizens Effective Participation In the Fight Against Corruption, which brought together officials of the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), Civil Society Organisations, Labour Unions, informal groups, private sector, media and developing partners, was aimed at sensitising and mobilising citizens to be actively involved in the fight against corruption in the country.
The project also seeks to change public attitudes to corruption, in order to create a mentality that is averse to corruption through campaigns, research, capacity building, advocacy and dialogue.
Country Director of ActionAids, Ene Obi said corruption distorts competition and trade, reduces investments and slows development. “It heightens injustice, discontent, exclusion and polarisation. Corruption, even though a global phenomenon, has almost become synonymous with Nigeria.”
According to her, corruption seems to have caused more deaths than HIV/AIDS and malaria, as it has stolen the future of children and ruined the educational system, destroyed healthcare facilities, increased inequality gap, exacerbated the level of insecurity and conflicts, pushed back foreign investment opportunities, and weakened the capacity of successive governments to provide basic amenities of life for citizens.
“You may ask why it is important to empower the Nigerian citizen to effectively fight against corruption. You may be wondering why the burden of eradicating corruption is not mounted on the government and our public officials. You may even and rightly too say the government should bear the burden because corruption began with government institutions and it is better positioned to end it. You must also think and ask yourself, what you’ll do about corruption in your community where you live and work.
“The answer is in the social cost of corruption and how it has fuelled unemployment and poverty…For us in ActionAid Nigeria, we believe that a government that can manage its resources effectively can eradicate poverty or reduce it to the barest minimum…citizens must be dogged and determined to ask the right questions and political leaders and institutions must be answerable to the people because it is only in this balanced format we can collectively address our common enemy called corruption.”
Director, Public Affairs, EFCC, Osita Nwajah, who tasked the media to intensify efforts at exposing corrupt officials, also added that it will take the collective efforts of all to put an end to the menace in the country.The rights activist, Femi Falana, said to effectively fight corruption, the Federal, State and Local Governments must fund welfare programmes.
He noted that of the 36 states, only Kano State has an anti-corruption agency. “All Progressives Congress (APC) controls 20 states. Aside Kano and the Federal Government, no other state is controlling corruption. Even then, with the powers conferred on the EFCC and ICPC, there is a limit to where they can go because they are underfunded, they are also controlled by government, who decides who they investigate and who not to investigate.
“All state governors should be made to join the Federal Government in the campaign. If someone has stolen the money of the state government, the EFCC will come through the Attorney General and investigate.Chairman of the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission, Barr. Muhuyi Magaji Rimingado, said “There is no state agency that operates the way we do, we are doing our best. So far, more than 4,000 cases have been investigated.”
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