The Honourable Minister of Youths and Sports, Mr. Solomon Dalong, has commended the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences (ICPC) for convening a conference that would positively mobilize Nigerian youths for the fight against corruption.
The Minister gave the commendation recently in Abuja at a two-day National Conference on Youth Against Corruption on the theme “Mobilizing the Youths Against Corruption”
While declaring the event open, Mr. Dalong noted that “corruption is a reflection of governance and democracy deficit” and that the victims of corruption were always the youths.
He bemoaned the fact that the youths had offered themselves as vehicles with which corruption was driven in Nigeria, saying the youths were no longer committed to the cause of nation-building but rather to materialism.
The Youths Minister therefore called on the participants to “declare war against their conscience” to stop worshiping those leaders with criminal tendencies, adding that no nation could realize its full potentials without the active involvement of the youths.
Earlier, in his remarks, ICPC Chairman, Mr. Ekpo Nta, had highlighted some areas of the public sector where the Commission had intervened to check corruption-prone processes. Some of the interventions include conducting the “University Systems Study and Review” (USSR) in tertiary institutions, conducting systems study at the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), as well as the development of National Values Curriculum for primary and secondary schools among others.
The ICPC Chairman also warned the youths against patronizing illegal degree-awarding institutions, stating that the Commission’s intervention in the educational sector had led to the closure of 63 “degree-awarding mills” across the country.
Also, in his welcome address, Chairman of the Conference Organizing Committee and Member of the Board of ICPC, Professor Oluremi Aina, revealed that the conference was part of a strategy to achieve the third objective of the Commission’s mandate which is Education/Public Enlightenment.
According to him, “Since its inception in September 2000, ICPC has pursued its three-fold mandate as enshrined in the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Act 2000, namely :-enforcement, prevention and education/mass mobilization. This conference is part of the strategy to achieve the third objective of the Commission’s mandate.”
He further stated that the conference was conceived following the feedback received by the Commission on the perceived exclusion of youths from the anti-corruption war during the course of its zonal consultations.
“The purpose of this conference therefore is to create a platform for youths all over Nigeria to come together for the purpose of considering their perspective of corruption as well as discussing how they can be positively engaged in the fight against corruption,” Professor Aina added.
The keynote speaker, the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd), noted that the best thing that had happened to the youths was the proliferation of technology and encouraged the youths to be technology-driven, saying “technology has been the most potent tool for the fight against corruption.”
Col. Ali, who described corruption as deadly, observed that all over the world, the youths were not only dreaming of the future but shaping it. He therefore charged them to build a resilient coalition against corruption that could withstand the barrage of attacks from the defenders of the status-quo.
Papers on some selected topical issues were presented by different resource persons who are role models to the youths at the conference all aimed at engaging them positively in the anti-graft crusade.
A communiqué was issued at the end of the conference and part of it reads: “That ICPC should institutionalize the National Conference on Youth against Corruption as an annual event and organize more editions of the conference at regional and institutional levels; and that participants at the conferences should be tagged Anti-Corruption Ambassadors who will give i-report feedback to ICPC; and that in organizing such conferences in the future, adequate logistics arrangement should be made for all participants’ transportation, accommodation and feeding;
That ICPC should launch a Campus Watchdog Initiative to establish its presence and help the students fight tertiary institution-related corrupt acts;
That ICPC should monitor the use of bail-out funds given to states, unnecessary increase of school fees by school administrations, police extortion, and other corrupt acts that affect youths;
That the anti-corruption war should be deepened on the Internet and the social media; and the legal framework for fighting cybercrime be strengthened to fight technology-induced corruption;
That ICPC should organize anti-corruption pageants (and other anti-corruption events) to make the war against corruption more youth-friendly;
That government should support ICPC with more funding to enable it execute a more intensive fight against corruption;
And that the teaching of the National Values Curriculum in schools should be intensified to ensure its widespread implementation across the educational system.”