ICPC urges community, religious leaders to join anti-corruption fight

ICPC urges community, religious leaders to join anti-corruption fight
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has urged community and religious leaders to support the anti-corruption fight at the grassroots level.

Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, the commission's chairman, suggested that the war be brought to the communities through encouraging integrity, openness, and responsibility among the populace.

At a workshop in Owerri on behaviour change, the national ethics and integrity policy, and the constituency projects tracking programme, he gave a speech.

The commission organised it for community-based civil society organisations as well as traditional and religious leaders.

All hands must be on deck for the anti-corruption campaign to be successful, according to Owasanoye, who was speaking on behalf of Sen. Anthony Agbo, the ICPC board member from the South-East.

He identified the endemic corruption level as the root of the country’s problem, from insecurity to poor infrastructure development.

He alleged that the biggest cases of corruption in Nigeria “are perpetrated by civil servants in active service and not politicians as erroneously believed”.

Owasanoye argued that crimes, such as budget padding and project duplication, “are some of the ways corruption is proliferated in the civil service and resources misappropriated”.

He, therefore, urged community and religious leaders​ to keep track of government’s projects​ in their areas and the funds appropriated for them for transparency and accountability.

He further urged them to use their influence to bring about the desired behavioural change and promote the national ethics and intergrity policy.

The ICPC boss also challenged more whistleblowers to expose persons engaged in coruption in order to arrest the situation before it degenerates.

In a presentation,​ the Imo Resident Anti-corruption Commissioner, Mr Peter Alumbugu, charged community and religious leaders to rid their communities of corrupt tendencies through behavioural change strategies.

Alumbugu further urged them to closely monitor corrupt practices and transparency issues and report observed infractions to the anti-graft agency without delay.

He also advised them to thoroughly study and review the​ operational systems in procurement and implementation of public projects and encourage community members to participate actively in execution monitoring.

He said that the commission had been proactive in preventing and eradicating the diversion of public funds in the implementation of public-funded projects.

Alumbugu said this was being done through collation and analysis of suspicious projects, which were tracked and properly investigated, leading to enforcement and possible prosecution of those involved.

He said the effort had led to significant improvement and impact on the works of various implementing agencies and a higher percentage of projects executed to specification.

The workshop also featured a paper entitled, “Advancing the core values of the national ethics and integrity policy for behavioural change: the role of traditional and religious leaders.”

The presenter, an Assistant Director in the commission, Mrs Chinwe Egbeocha, urged participants to imbibe the values of the policy, teach others and collaborate with ICPC and other similar agencies.

Also, the State Director of the National Orientation Agency, Mrs Maureen Oparaji, pledged the support of the agency in promoting the vision and activities of ICPC.
Chima Ugo is a patriotic Nigerian, a journalist, blogger and singer who is so much interested in the internet, journalism, and blogging and have been for half a decade.