February 25, 2020

We need positive social norms to win anti-corruption war – NOA DG

… As SERAP Says Corruption Slows Economic Growth

By Emmanuel Elebeke & Alice Ekpang

The Director-General of the National Orientation Agency Dr Garba Abari says the success or failure in the prosecution of the war against corruption will largely depend on how much we embrace our positive social norms.

Abari stated this on Tuesday at an enlightenment and sensitization workshop to embrace anti-corruption social norms and participate in the fight against corruption in Nigeria organised by Social Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP in Abuja.

He stated that the agency in line with the fierce urgency of the moment, has renewed the campaign against corruption with vigorous measures and commitment, adding that NOA has put up a continuous campaign targeted at sensitizing Nigerians on ills of corruption and influencing their attitudes and behaviour to shun all forms of corruption.

The workshop he said was a fall out of the recently launched SERAP’s social norms anti-corruption survey Report which made far reaching recommendations to government and stakeholders on how to address the challenges posed by corruption from the perspective of social norms and behaviours change.

He added that the agency over the years has continued spear-head the anti-corruption programme of successive administrations and the present administration has anti-corruption as one of its critical areas of focus.

Abari further revealed that the agency under this administration has collaborated with different government and private sector to carryout anti-corruption specific programs and has successfully trained personnel of Ministries of Agencies of Government MDAs and private organizations across the country. “I must mention here that the anti-corruption campaign has yielded very positive results within the short time despite the ferocity with which corruption has fought back and is still fighting back”.

He urged Nigerian citizens to show support to the government on the fight against corruption.

‘‘As citizens of Nigeria we must all work and support any government that shows interest in fighting corruption”.

In his presentation entitled: Anti-Corruption Social Norms in Nigeria Report’s Findings and Recommendations, Mr. Mwangi Kibathi of SERAP identified corruption as the real social economic and development concern in Nigeria today.

According to him, corruption slows economic growth, diverts resources from the most efficient use and compromises services delivery.

‘‘The Nigerian society including federal, state governments, non-state actors, private individuals have put a lot of efforts in combating corruption. The extent of success of these various measures and interventions has been mixed at best. While strong anti-corruption institutions and raft of legislation are in place, the problem of corruption still persists.

READ ALSO: Nigerian youths crucial in anti-corruption crusade -Magu

‘‘In most countries, anti-corruption interventions have been focused on the legislative and enforcement dimensions of corruption. The assumption has been that corruption is perpetrated by a minority deviant group,’’ he added.

He however, expressed optimism that corruption can be successfully fought in Nigeria is the society adopt the positive social norms.

‘‘The report also discovered that social media and the internet in general are the most common source of information on corruption at 38% and 33% respectfully and therefore are the most dependable channels to successfully reach the majority and influence behaviour change.

‘‘Findings from the report pointed out that 27% of the respondents believed that poverty is the major force compelling Nigerians to indulge in acts of corruption.

‘‘The report recommended that “all Nigerians should see themselves as the direct bearers of the deficits of corruption in all its ramifications and offer themselves as agents of social change and positive action through the use of the numerous normative tools available for holding government and government officials accountable for corrupt practices,” he added.