By Chioma Onuegbu, Uyo
The MacArthur Foundation has charged trade and Labour Unions in Nigeria to be actively involved in the fight against corruption in order to tackle the lack of accountability that had been a bane in the democratization and governance in the country.
Deputy Director of the Foundation, Mr. Dayo Olaide gave the task while speaking virtually on Thursday at a training organised by
Say No Campaign- Nigeria for Labour and trade union leaders in Uyo, Always Ibom state capital, entitled, “Capacity building: Deepening accountability efforts on government activities, Budget and Project”
Olaide who said the role of the citizens particularly the Labour unions in the crusade could not be over-emphasized, noted that MacArthur Foundation’s current work in the country focuses on supporting efforts to improve accountability and reduce corruption through combination of approaches including supporting investigative journalism and Civil Society’s mobilization of citizens.
His words, “If we don’t have citizens speaking out, what we will see is a continuation of impunity in the system. And I think that the role Labour and trade Union, particularly, have to play in this work is humongous. of course Labour has the so- called involvement in the struggle for governance and democracy in this country.
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“It is time that we get Labour to be more visible in this work given its network and given the goodwill that it continues to enjoy among the larger percentage of Nigerians. And we are supporting Civil Society organizations to help us mobilize citizens and to be involved in the fight against corruption. That is why “Say No Campaign” is doing this meeting today.
“So this meeting is not just to inform, this meeting is to inspire, this meeting is to draw our attention to the important role and opportunities that we have as citizens to be part of this work, and for us to begin to actively play that role”
Olaide stressed that the foundation was also supporting the implementation of the Administration of the Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) which was signed into Law in 2015, because it contains a number of revolutionary provisions which if well implemented could actually strengthen the fight against corruption.
In his brief remarks the Commissioner of Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission ( ICPC) in Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Shola Shodipo lauded conveners of the capacity building programme for identifying Labour Unions as relevant stakeholders in holding public office holders in the country accountable.
He appreciated the conveners for deeming it fit to bring this meeting to Akwa Ibom state, and urged the participants to see the Commission as a dependable partner in efforts to reduce corrupt practices in the country, especially in government sectors.
Addressing the participants, the convener and executive director of Peering Advocacy and Advancement Centre in Africa (PAACA), Ezenwa Nwagwu said the anti-corruption fight would record huge improvement if Labour unions in the country apply same proactive steps they adopt while pushing for their demands for improved wages and other welfare benefits.
“All we are saying, is that as Labour Unions use your competence, your respect, and your nfluence beyond trade union issues. Use your influence collectively or individually to see how you can improve the concerns of the larger Society, either where you live, where you work or the community you come from.
“To improve implementation of budget across all sectors in the country and curb the unwarranted spate of abandoned projects, it is important that communities, critical Stakeholders including the organized Labour actively oversight and use their influence to evoke accountability from relevant government institutions” Nwagwu advised