Yemi Adedeji, Abuja
A coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) says Nigerian political leaders, policy makers and other duty bearers seem to be overwhelmed with the scourge of corruption in Nigeria.
The civil groups lamented that policy and legal frameworks in the war against corruption in Nigeria have experienced setbacks due to the huge disconnect between the anti-corruption efforts and citizens’ participation.
Oluwole Elegbede, acting Country Director, Action aid, while delivering his welcome address at an event commemorating this year’s World Anti-corruption Day and the unveiling of SCRAP-C Project, with the theme; ‘Nigerians United Against Corruption for Development, Peace and Security’, said that there was need for adequate sanction against all persons that run foul of anti-corruption laws.
He added the Strengthening Citizens Resistance Against Prevalence of Corruption (SCRAP-C) Project is designed to engage a collective approach and change in social norms in the fight against corruption.
He described the creeping impunity noticeable in certain quarters in relation to accusations of corrupt practices as a chink in the armour of government that seems to pride itself as epitome of transparency, accountability and public probity.
Oyebode stated: “while it is not in doubt that we have statutes against corruption and a government in place that has made the right noises against corruption, it should be admitted that on account of some happenings, there are now noticeable misgivings from many quarters regarding selective enforcement, inconsistency and turning blind eye on outrageous acts bordering on corruption by some government officials.”
He emphasised that nothing could win more converts to anti-corruption crusade than strict observance of the rule of law and impartial administration of sanctions against proven acts if corruption.
“Popular understanding of the laws and their thrust would go a long way in intensifying the endeavour. This would inevitably solidify the relationship between government and the people in the common task to exterminate the corruption vermin.
“The campaign against corruption should be brought to churches , mosques and civil society organisation in order to bring the message to all and sundry,” he added.
Oyebode therefore called on the federal government to solicit the support and cooperation of the people in the war against corruption by encouraging mass action through the whistle-blower scheme and sponsoring Anti-corruption writes up in mass and social media.