Mr Ibrahim Magu, the Acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Thursday urged Nigerians to join the anti-corruption war of the commission. Magu made the appeal in Calabar during a Workshop for Community-Based Organisations on Whistle Blowing and Fight Against Corruption in Nigeria organised by the African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL).
Magu was represented by Mrs Theresa Nwosu, Head, Public Affairs Department of the Commission, Uyo Office. He said that EFCC could not be everywhere at the same time. The EFCC boss noted that there were Nigerians in all parts of the country who should give credible information to the commission, which was the main aim of the `whistleblower’ initiative.
According to him, one of the core mandates of the commission was not just to arrest and prosecute corrupt Nigerians but also to ensure prevention of corrupt practices. “It is important to note that prevention can only be enhanced through sensitisation because a lot of people are unaware and ignorant of the dangers of corruption to the nation.
“Nigeria has just one problem, corruption but if it is sincerely dealt with, every other thing will naturally fall into place. “Corruption has defied every solution thrown at it and is still spreading like cancer. “Nigerians must come to the realisation that they are the ones that suffer more if it is allowed to continue to fester”, he noted. He added that the whistle blower’s policy had really helped the commission in the anti-corruption war, saying that it was very possible for someone to be a whistleblower without any other person knowing.
In his remark, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), who was represented by Mr Larry Abuo, said the commission developed the whistleblower initiative in 2014 to fight corruption. Owasanoye said that the commission created an Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit (ACTU) in conjunction with other units to ensure the prevention of corruption, especially in the public service. “Due to the commission’s engagement, it has been able to launch nationwide community enlightenment and initiative called ‘My Constituency my Project’ and has saved up to N2 billion in recovery of diverted projects,’’ he said. The ICPC boss, however, called on Nigerians to join hands in the fight against corruption as it was the only way the nation could be rid of the menace.
Also speaking during the event, the State Coordinator, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mrs Florence Osang, said for the fight against corruption to be effective, there must be a change of attitude among Nigerians. Osang said the fight against corruption must start from the homes as Nigerian children must be mentored to love their country. “Nigerians need to love Nigeria and be patriotic in the fight against corruption. Don’t change because you feel you are alone in the battle”, she said. Earlier, the Coordinator of AFRICMIL, Dr Chido Onumah, said his organisation had been engaging the whistleblowing process in the last three years and had intervened on behalf of whistleblowers who were victimised by their employers.
Onumah said the goal of the centre was to introduce local Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) across the country, starting with Cross River and Akwa Ibom on how they could use the whistleblowing mechanism in demanding for accountability and fighting corruption. He appealed to Nigerians to join the National Whistle Blowing Coalition which was a network of community-based organisations and CSOs around whistleblowing which his organisation would develop.
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