Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, has charged religious leaders of both the Christian and Muslim faiths to be exemplary in their conduct at all times for the sake of their followers and the esteemed positions they occupy in the society.
Professor Owasanoye gave the charge while speaking to trainees of Lux Terra Leadership Foundation who were on a visit to the ICPC headquarters in Abuja, recently.
The ICPC Chairman stressed that everybody irrespective of his or her position, has a role to play in the fight against corruption, saying that the fight should not be left to ICPC alone. “Everybody is important and critically important, you don’t have to be President to make an impact. The change you want to see, the correction you want to see, you have to be the first example of it”, he said.
Speaking also from the Islamic perspective during the visit, a board member of ICPC, Hon. Justice Adamu Bello (rtd), stated that Islam does not condone corruption. He used the opportunity to appeal to the religious leaders to join hands with ICPC in spreading the anti-corruption message.
In his words: “My appeal to you as religious leaders, is to assist ICPC in carrying the anti-corruption message of this Commission to the mosques, to the Islamiyya schools, and all the fora where you have cause to address adherents of the Islamic religion.” He added that by working together, Nigerians could save the country from total annihilation by corruption.
Another board member, Hon. Bukola Balogun, who spoke from the Christian point of view stated that Nigeria was sick because of corruption. Therefore, Nigerians must join hands and collectively nurse the country back to good health. She added that as religious leaders, it was important to take home the anti-corruption message “in order to get Nigeria working again”. She advised the participants to shun all forms of corruption.
Earlier in his remarks, the founder of Lux Terra Leadership Foundation, Rev. Fr. George Ehusani, had explained that the Foundation’s training was aimed at equipping the participants on the use of religious networks, resources and institutions to promote integrity and fight corruption in Nigeria.
Fr. Ehusani added that the participants comprised 15 Christian clerics and 15 Muslim clerics, saying that this was the sixth in a series of training supported by the McArthur Foundation. He disclosed that the Foundation trains 300 school prefects of some secondary schools from across the north-central zone of the country annually during the summer holidays.
He also revealed that the Foundation was very much involved in the struggle for a more accountable Nigeria through a television programme tagged “Reflections and Sunday Homilies” where issues of integrity and accountability were often discussed.