NACAT

NACAT Partners EFCC, ICPC To Campaign Against Corruption in Abuja

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The Network Against Corruption and Trafficking in collaboration with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) Wednesday, held a campaign against corruption in Abuja.

The event, with the theme, “Stride Against Corruption: Unifying For Transparency and Accountability,” was held at the popular Unity Fountain, in Maitama, Abuja. In attendance were stakeholders from all walks of life including the EFCC, ICPC and the State Security Services.

In his welcome address, NACAT Operational Manager, Stanley Ugagbe averred that the program was in continuation of the group’s contribution to the global fight against the draconian scourge of corruption. While welcoming stakeholders and all the participants, Ugagbe stated that the program is an annual initiative of NACAT.

Harping on “The scourge of corruption and its threat to Nigeria’s progress,” Mrs. Uba Emilia, Assistant Director, Public Private Partnership Unit, ICPC, opined that corruption, “the insidious misuse of power for personal gain, has long plagued our nation, stifling development and eroding the foundations of our society. It permeates every level of our government and society, from high-ranking officials to local bureaucrats”.

Quoting Transparency International, Emilia said Nigeria consistently ranks among the most corrupt countries in the world, “a clear indicator of the magnitude of the problem we face”.

Among others, she said corruption undermines public trust in institutions, stifles economic activities, perpetuates inequality, severely hampers foreign investment, causes brain-drain/human capital flight, threatens development, breeds uneducated and unhealthy citizenry, births weak institutions and reduces life expectancy.

Proffering solutions to the vice, the ICPC personnel stated that the fight against corruption must be a collective effort. “It requires strong leadership, transparent institutions, and an engaged citizenry. Our leaders must demonstrate an unwavering commitment to integrity and accountability. Laws and regulations must be enforced impartially, and those found guilty of corrupt practices must face consequences, regardless of their status or connections.

“Civil society organizations and the media play a crucial role in this fight. They must be vigilant and courageous in exposing corruption and holding those in power accountable. Education is also a vital tool in combating corruption. Technological advancements offer additional avenues to combat corruption. E-governance initiatives, for example, can reduce opportunities for corrupt practices by increasing transparency and efficiency in public administration. Digital platforms for reporting and monitoring corruption can empower citizens and provide real-time data to track the use of public funds.”

On his part, Mr. Tony Orilade, Assistant Director, Head Public Interface Unit, EFCC, who shared insight on “Unmasking the faces of corruption: Exposing the culprits and their tactics,” noted that the fight against corruption is a collective effort. While stressing that the EFCC is relentless in the fight against corruption, he urged Nigerians to report corrupt elements to the commission. “If you see something, say something”.

According to Tony, the commission is always available to act on petitions brought to its table. He stated that the commission is ever ready to guide members of the public on how to properly write a petition, stressing that members of the public can access the commission by visiting their physical offices or through forms and phone numbers on their website.

While fielding questions from participants, Orilade maintained that the commission is not lopsided in its fight against corruption, citing current corruption cases involving a former governor and a former minister who belong to the ruling All Progressives Congress.

Also speaking at the event, NACAT Program Manager, Mrs. Jennifer Idowu who spoke earlier on “Breaking the Cycle of Corruption: Empowering Citizens and Promoting Accountability in Nigeria,” said the time has come to break this cycle and chart a new course for the nation.

To accomplish this, she said by fostering an environment where every Nigerian feels their voice matters, “we can instill a culture of integrity and accountability. Education and awareness are our most potent tools. Let us ensure that every citizen understands the devastating impact of corruption and knows the ways to combat it. This begins with grassroots education programs, community forums, and widespread information campaigns that highlight both the cost of corruption and the benefits of a transparent society”.

In her words, “By joining forces, we can create a culture where honesty is the norm and corruption has no place. Let us stand united, not just in our words but in our actions, to build a Nigeria where transparency and accountability are the foundations of our society. Our combined efforts can turn the tide against corruption and pave the way for a brighter, more equitable future”.

NACAT Policy Analyst, Onoja Johnson Baba who shared insight on “The Cancer of Corruption: How Nigeria’s Political Elite Undermine National Progress,” underscored the Scandal of Sani Abacha, The Petroleum Subsidy Fraud, The Case of Diezani Alison-Madueke and the Nigerian Electoral Process.

In his words, corruption has profound and far-reaching consequences on Nigeria’s development. “It diverts public funds from essential services such as healthcare, education, and infrastructure. It deters foreign investment, as the perceived risk of doing business in a corrupt environment is high. Moreover, it exacerbates inequality, as the elite accumulate wealth while the average citizen remains in poverty”.

To combat this cancer, he said “we must adopt a multifaceted approach. First, there must be a genuine political will to fight corruption at all levels. This includes strengthening institutions such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and ensuring they operate independently without political interference.

“Second, transparency and accountability must be enforced rigorously. Public officials should be required to declare their assets, and there should be stringent audits of government spending. Civil society and the media play a crucial role in this regard by holding leaders accountable and exposing corrupt practices.

“Third, judicial reform is essential. The legal system must be equipped to deal swiftly and effectively with cases of corruption, ensuring that justice is served without undue delay.

“Lastly, we, as citizens and organization, have a role to play. We must demand better governance and refuse to engage in or tolerate corrupt practices in our daily lives. It is only through a collective effort that we can hope to eradicate this cancer from our society,” he said.

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