The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has proffered strategies that could help tackle corruption at the Sub-National level.
The Commission highlighted the strategies in a lecture by its Director, Public Enlightenment and Education Department, Mr. Mohammed Ashiru Baba, fsi during a two-day workshop for State Anti-Corruption Agencies organised by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) in Abuja.
Mr. Baba reiterated the importance of the adeptness of state anti-corruption agencies to strategies initiated and implemented by anti-graft agencies at the national level saying the strategies would not only complement the efforts and successes recorded so far but they would be cascaded at the grassroots through them.
“If the efforts made by anti-corruption agencies at the federal level are supported by anti-corruption agencies at the sub-national level, the fight against corruption in Nigeria would be as good as won. I am optimistic that such a synergy and collaboration would change the anti-corruption narrative in no distant future.”
While reeling out some of the strategies, Babe noted that for agencies to implement the various anti-corruption initiatives, such agencies must not only possess prosecutorial powers but their laws must also be as robust and comprehensive like that of ICPC and other anti-graft agencies.
He added that aside the enforcement duties, the state anti-corruption bodies must also go beyond enforcement to prevention and public sensitization which include the setting up of machinery to ensure asset declaration by public officials and production of byelaws that would guide the conduct of public servants generally towards inculcating ethical values of integrity, transparency and accountability.
He also spoke of the need to carry the youth along in the anti-corruption fight through various outreach programmes, saying they are the backbone of every nation and they represent the active and impressionist population of a nation that can make or mar the growth and development process of any nation depending on how they are guided and utilized.
According to him, other strategies that would not only work in favour of anti-corruption agencies in the state but also compliment the efforts of agencies like ICPC, EFCC and NOA include the establishment of youth anti-corruption structures in primary and secondary schools, anti-corruption vanguards in tertiary institutions, formation of NYSC anti-corruption community development service group and organization of local government integrity lecture series.
He stressed further that the fight against corruption is a collective responsibility and no Federal or State agency alone can fight it successfully without the support and cooperation of key stakeholders in the society adding that one of such stakeholders is the civil society group.
“Civil Society organisations are non-governmental, non-profit making organizations whose primary aims is to help build an egalitarian society by injecting some elements of ethical standards, demand for transparency and accountability especially from public officials. Many of them are grassroots-based. It is the duty of the State anti-corruption agencies to locate and work hand in hand with these civil society groups” he said.
Other strategies he suggested include the need for vibrant and robust media relations, collaboration with ICPC in the implementation of the National Ethics and Integrity Policy (NEIP), collaboration with the Commission in the implementation of the Constituency and Executive Projects Tracking Initiatives, establishment of Anti-Corruption and Transparency Units, introduction of Ethics and Integrity Compliance Scorecards for MDAs, conduct of corruption risk assessment, introduction of anti-sexual harassment policies in schools and MDAs and conferment of integrity awards to deserving individuals.
Baba therefore urged participants at the workshop to brace up as the fight against corruption is a daunting task saying the perpetrators would always fight back with every available means.
“It is clear that fighting corruption is not a tea party. It is a job full of risks, because the people you are fighting do not believe in the fight against corruption. To them, corruption should be a normal way of life because they have tasted the sweetness of stealing public funds with impunity and conferring undue advantage to themselves. You are the enemy to them and they will not spare any weapon to eliminate you using their ill-gotten wealth.”