The Acting Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Dr. Musa Usman Abubakar has declared that upholding human rights is a concomitant for winning the fight against corruption.
He made this declaration at a one-day Anti-Corruption Advocacy and Sensitization Forum which was organized by the Human Right Awareness Initiative (HURAI) in collaboration with ICPC and National Orientation Agency at the Agency’s headquarters in Abuja recently.
Dr. Abubakar who was represented by Mr. Jimoh Sulahiman stressed that corruption and violation of human rights had a symbiotic relationship therefore, for corruption to be eradicated there was the need to ensure that issues of human rights were treated very seriously.
He went on to share some of ICPC’s success stories on cases that had elements of human rights violations saying that the Commission had successfully investigated cases of sexual abuse on campuses, workplace victimization, denial of pension rights amongst others.
He added that respect for human rights naturally engenders a buy-in of the people in the effort against corruption without which there would be no success.
Dr. Abubakar also lamented the adverse effects of corruption on Nigeria’s institutions: “The erosion of public confidence in the country’s political and economic institutions has promoted a culture of contempt for the rule of law, denial of human rights and unfortunately, a societal tolerance for a myriad of abominable conducts.” Jimoh said.
He finally urged the organizers not to relent in promoting the anti-corruption crusade and human rights agenda through grassroots advocacy.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of the occasion, Hon. Justice Ibrahim Auta OFR , had said that even though corruption had stunted the growth of Nigeria, he believed that it could be reduced to a minimal level, and therefore called on Nigerians not to leave the fight against the menace in the hands of the government alone.
In his welcome address the Director General National Orientation Agency (NOA), Dr. Garba Abari, called for concerted action against corruption, saying, “there is need for all to join hands together to wage war against corruption…”
He went on to say that the collaboration with HURAI is furtherance of his organisation’s mandate, part of the process of enlightenment, orientation, sensitization, education information and knowledge dissemination of the components of human rights in Nigeria.
The Chairman Governing Board of HURAI, Rear Admiral Peter Ebhaleme, who spoke during the event expressed his pain that Nigeria, the “Giant of Africa” was being swallowed up by corruption and therefore enjoined all Nigerians to rise and save the country from the cankerworm.
HURAI, is a Civil Society Organisation and also a member of the ICPC National Anti-Corruption Coalition which was set up to overlook the activities of CSOs that are involved in the anti-corruption fight.