By Emmanuel Elebeke & Gabriel Ewepu
ABUJA—Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Mrs. Ene Obi, has said corruption kills more people in Nigeria than HIV/Aids and malaria put together.
Obi, who led a delegation of ActionAid officials to the Abuja Bureau of Vanguard Newspaper said more needed to be done in the fight against corruption in every sphere of national life.
According to him, “ActionAid is an anti-poverty agency to eradicate corruption. We believe that corruption can be eradicated and we believe that if our resources can be distributed, the way it should, remove the looting and the misappropriation that is happening, no Nigerian needs to go to bed hungry.
“There were days that no Nigeria would go to the dustbin. We witnessed that as young people but today, our children are eating from the dust bin. Now, the few are getting richer and the gap between the poor and the rich is widening. When we are growing up, in school, we were with children of governors in a public university but today that is not happening.
“Corruption is the major obstacle to eradicating poverty and we are looking at it as Nigerians who have said no. As Nigerians, if we do not reclaim our country, it will not even be the dust bin they will eat from, we don’t even know where they would eat.
“I think it is time to reclaim our land from the looters. Orientation is something that we seek. I think people have lost it. There are a lot of insanity in the atmosphere and that is the sanity that we need to bring back to people. People who have gone astray, we can also bring them back to the fold. And so, ActionAid is calling for collaboration in the fight against corruption.”
Why we visited Vanguard
She explained that the visit was to show appreciation to Vanguard family for the good work it has been doing in championing social justice and to seek more partnership to forge a common front in the fight against corruption and other vices in the country.
The ActionAid boss decried what she called gender imbalance in the system and called for proper women inclusion in the scheme of things.
Women deserve 35% affirmation
She insisted that women deserved 35 per cent affirmation because they constituted 50 per cent of the population and needed full representation.
“Gender equality is another major issue. We are talking about representation of women that need to represent themselves not other people representing them. The Nigerian government needs to correct the imbalance of decision makers in their positions.
“We are asking because women account for 50 percent of the population and they need to be represented. We have one of the worst indices on maternal mortality and infant mortality more than many countries around the world.”
The organisation, according to her, had been running a scholarship programme for the less privileged in the society and encouraged Nigerians to contribute towards the gesture.
In his response, the Abuja Bureau Chief, Mr. Emmanuel Ujah, assured the visitors that Vanguard would collaborate with ActionAid to fight social injustice in the country.
He told the visitors that Vanguard, as a citizen-conscious newspaper, shared the ideals of social justice with ActionAid.