June 13, 2024

Why corruption persists in Nigeria – ICPC

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By Luminous Jannamike

The Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) has identified lack of collective effort and individual capacity to demand accountability as major reasons why corruption persists in Nigeria.

The ICPC Chairman, Dr. Musa Adamu Aliyu (SAN), made this known at a one-day project report dissemination meeting held in Abuja on Thursday.

He emphasized the need for a collective approach to combat corruption, noting that civil society organizations and institutions are advocating for accountability, but it has not yet become a collective priority.

Represented by the Acting Director, Public Enlightenment and Education Department of the Commission, Mr. Demola Bakare, the ICPC Chairman said: “Corruption persists because we’re not benefiting from accountability. Civil society organizations and institutions are advocating for accountability, but it’s not yet a collective priority.

“We need to engineer a grassroots demand for accountability, making it impossible for leaders to ignore.

“Honestly, the demand is not where it should be. Corruption persists because we’re not benefiting from accountability.”

The Executive Director of PRIMORG, Augustine Okhiria Agbonsuremi, presented a report titled ‘Tackling Corruption On Air and On Social Media: The Challenge of Corruption and Integrity Deficit in Nigeria (2021-2024)’.

The report highlighted the organization’s project, supported by the MacArthur Foundation, which aimed to strengthen anti-corruption and accountability through radio and social media engagement.

The project, which ran from 2021 to 2024, reached over 10 million Nigerians, leading to improved participation in democratic processes and increased demand for accountability.

Agbonsuremi said, “The problem of corruption and the dearth of integrity in Nigerian society are undoubtedly some of the major hindrances to national development since independence.

“Regrettably, corruption runs through every level of the Nigerian government. From considerable contract fraud at the top through petty bribery, money laundering schemes, embezzlement, and ghost workers’ syndrome.

“The project’s impact is evident in the improved participation of citizens in democratic processes, exchange of insights, and reactions from the government and anti-graft agencies.”

Prof. Magdalene Igbolo, in her keynote address, highlighted the devastating effects of corruption on the country, emphasizing the need for collective effort to combat it.

She noted that corruption has led to a high cost of production in Nigeria, compromising economic development.

She also stressed the importance of moral values and virtues in the fight against corruption.

According to her, “Corruption is a significant issue in our country. Bribery, fraud, and mitigation are common practices.

“We need to work together to fight corruption. The cost of production in Nigeria is high due to corruption.

“Moral values and virtues are declining in our society. Cyber crimes are on the rise, and younger people are engaging in illegal activities due to pressure and lack of opportunities.”

Kole Shettima, Director of MacArthur Foundation’s Nigeria Office, reiterated the foundation’s commitment to supporting investigative journalism, which is crucial for promoting accountability in democracy.

He disclosed that the foundation has supported over 100 media organizations in this regard.

“Investigative journalism needs to be supported, because these reports often take six months or more to investigate and require significant resources.

“Media organizations usually don’t have the resources to devote to such work, so we provide additional resources to help them do their job,” Shettima noted.

He commended PRIMORG for its unwavering commitment to promoting accountability and transparency in Nigeria.

The event brought together representatives of the ICPC, PRIMORG, MacArthur Foundation, media, and civil society organizations, all united in the quest to combat corruption in Nigeria.