The Inter-Religious Coalition Against Corruption In Nigeria, ICACN, with the support of the MacArthur Foundation have vowed to stamp out corrupt practices in the country.
Co-Directors of ICACN, Bishop (Dr) Emmah Gospel Isong and his Muslim counterpart, Imam Shefiu AbdulKareem Majemu said this after the seminar which attracted various religious leaders, the business community and students. Isong and Majemu expressed optimism that a better Nigeria devoid of corruption was in the making
Isong, who is also the National Publicity Secretary of PFN said: “corruption has not only hit us bad, corruption has become endemic and it has eaten into the fabrics of our economy and has become one of the greatest challenges of Nigeria.
“This is the second phase of this project, promoting accountability and anti-corruption through behaviour change approaches, so we give thanks to God and credit to MacAuthur foundation and all of our partners in the Mombaia house, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
“In fact this campaign has not only consumed my time and zeal and energy, it has also helped me to learn a lot in contributing to national development.
“The religious leaders are targeting the community; we have now become the vehicle upon which to drive the anti-corruption message. Hitherto, corruption messages were propagated and sponsored by governmental agencies like ICPC and EFCC but right now, what we are doing on this project of the inter-faith is to make sure that the three major religions come together to synergise, fight the common enemy that is eating our national cake.
“You can see from this Port Harcourt activity, that you have here several Muslims, several Christians in this ball room. That already tells anybody that we are more than ready to go out and fight corruption together. The willingness is there, synergy is there, we’ve dropped our religious, dogmatic and philosophical defences and we’ve decided to come together, fight the common enemy of the Nigeria economy.
“My current words to Nigerians is that good governance and corruption free leadership will bring a turn-around economic development that will further reduce crime and violence in our society, so the pivot upon which any political leader coming in 2023 should drive his manifesto should be on anti-corruption.”
On his part, Majemu said: “The activity we are having today is a symposium on engagement of faith leaders and community leaders in terms of amplifying the anti-corruption messages.
“Everyday, we communicate to people, we talk as religious leaders. At every contact, people want to hear us talk, people want to see us sermonizing them, they come to us for advice, counselling; even those at the helms of affairs, they go to the mosque and churches to receive sermon. At the end of the day, you discover that we are not making appreciable impact. Our faith, our scriptures have a lot, yet Nigeria is going towards unbearable level; poverty everywhere, crisis, conflict everywhere, these are the outcome, the offshoot of corruption.
“We as religious leaders, we cannot start doing it that way, but the best way to do it, we have been ordained by God by his divine instruction to correct societal ills, and to repair our society.
“Nigeria is the sole property of God, not anybody, and we will be judged by how we have used those resources and religious leaders will be questioned first, how are we talking about corrections, how are we changing the tide of the society, what are we telling them in the churches and the mosques? We are the main cause of everything.
One of the participants, Tonye Brown of the Eternal Sacred of the Cherubim and Seraphim described the programme as eye opening, stressing that he had learnt quite a lot from it, adding that he was going back home fired up to join the campaign against corruption, beginning from his church.