The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) Enugu Zonal office has recently inaugurated the National Anti- Corruption Volunteer Corps (NAVC) Aguata and Ihiala Local Government Chapters of Anambra State respectively.
At the inauguration ceremony at Aguata local Government Area, the Head of ICPC, Enugu Zonal Office, Barr. Arua Udonsi, in his keynote address commended the NAVC Anambra state for leading the entire South –Eastern States as it concerns the inauguration of Local Government Chapters. Reading the address on behalf of the Zonal Head, Miss Chinwe Nwozor, Principal Information Officer of the Commission, said the establishment of NAVC was in pursuant to the public mobilization agenda of the commission and it is opened to only people who have integrity.
She stated that the protection provided for the officers of ICPC under the Act is also extended to NAVC members, adding that the Commission would continue to empower the NAVC members for some national assignments when the need arises.
Delivering his welcome address, the NAVC, Anambra State Coordinator, Dr. Ifeanyi Obi said the NAVC under his leadership had brought the fight against corruption to the grass root by having very viable and functional NAVC Chapters in all the 21 Local Government Area of Anambra State.
He, however noted that there was need for the volunteer to educate people more on their rights and obligation, raised public awareness of the increased cost associated with corruption and also change the public attitude to corruption.
The state Coordinator stated the need to provide specialist training and logistic support to members of NAVC, stressing that government and non- governmental organizations including donor agencies should make use of the existing structure and spread of NAVC in Anambra state to effectively carry out their anti- corruption activities.
In his welcome address, the NAVC, Aguata Local Government Chapter of Anambra State, Mr. Eugene Ezeobi, lauded the efforts of ICPC in mobilizing ordinary Nigerians, irrespective of class or gender, to fight the menace of corruption successfully and sustainably. According to him, the fight against corruption was not all about setting booby trap for offenders in order to catch them, but involves changing the behavioral attitudes of the people.
He said the Aguata L.G.A. Chapter was committed to the fight against corruption and other related offences in their communities. He then called for support and co-operation of the law enforcement agents in their locality to ensure victorious war against corrupt practices in the society
In his contribution, an assistant Superintendent of police (Asp) Emma C. Jiakponnah who represented the DPO, Aguata Division, Anambra State , said corruption is inimical to the growth and development of any nation. He said the fight against corruption was imperative to the provision of conceptual and empirical indices of peace, conflict resolution and attitudinal transformation for a progressive society devoid of greed, avarice, corruption and security threats.
He opined that if corruption was addressed holistically and radically, without any sacred cow, all other problems socially, economically, politically would have been solved regardless of crime being an integral part of every healthy society. He concluded by saying that except we all change our negative attitudes and orientations and embrace honesty, love and dedication to our duty, it would be difficult to achieve our envisage goal.
Delivering a paper titled “Corruption – The Greatest Enemy to National Development in Nigeria ” Barr. Victor Ezeonwumelu said Nigeria has been badly affected due to the appalling international image created by her inability to deal with bribery and corruption. He said investors are reluctant to invest in development efforts due to lack of accountability and high seal manipulation of contracts figures. He further stated that corruption has devastating effects on the economy, social services and diversion of investment in infrastructural development,
According to Barr. Ezeonwumelu, to control corruption in Nigeria , good governance, transparency and accountability in the running of our government and management of our resources at all levels should be the guiding principle for those in position of trust. He said immediate and prompt actions against corrupt public officials and declaring of assets by political officers would help in controlling corruption in Nigeria .
He thereafter advised the Volunteers to first purge themselves of those negative vices that would undermine their integrity, transparency and trustworthiness without which they could not make any positive impact. He stated that NAVC members would have no reason to fail in the task ahead of them because their spread and operational environment are deeply rooted in the grass root.
In a related development, the Commission also inaugurated the NAVC Ihiala Local Government Chapter of Anambra State. Barr. Udonsi, the Head ICPC, Enugu Office in his speech charged members to live above board and exhibit impeccable and outstanding character in all their dealings. He added that the Commission would not hesitate to deal decisively with any corrupt NAVC members.
Also speaking, the Coordinator NAVC Ihiala Chapter, Barr. Ejima Obimka said the members having been experiencing the negative effects of corruption in both their public and private lives, have decided to toe the path of volunteerism in NAVC with high degree of integrity, dedication, passion, commitment and patriotism as advocates of integrity, civic observers and monitors of integrity. He affirmed the commitment of the members to fight against corruption.
The high point of the ceremony was the official inauguration of the Volunteers in Aguata and Ihiala Local Government Chapters respectively by the Heads of ICPC Enugu and Imo State zonal offices and assisted by the NAVC Anambra State coordinator, with the members pledging to report corruption, promote freedom, justice and actively participate in anti- corruption activities.