Involving students in anti-corruption war
By Mahmud Abdulsalam
In a statement of naked fact on anti-corruption and before the Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Act was enacted in June 2000, the erstwhile Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Mr. Nkpo Nta, in a booklet, observed that corruption, fraud, embezzlement, bribery and other despicable acts of corruption were brazenly perpetrated, leaving the country to suffer on every front.
He said the establishment of the Commission as enshrined in the ICPC Act 2000 has gone a long way in making a difference in the behaviour of Nigerians.
Vested with the responsibility to receive and investigate reports of corruption and prosecute offender(s) where necessary; study and review corruption prone procedures and systems in government establishments; and educate the public against corruption, Mr. Nta, said the Commission has accomplished a lot across its tripartite mandate.
He added that the Federal Government’s agency has received numerous petitions, completed investigations of several allegations and is prosecuting corruption cases in courts across the nation. It has also conducted systems’ studies at Ministries, Departments and Agencies, while setting up Anti-corruption and Transparency Monitoring Units (ACTMUs) in these organisations.
Ekpo Nta, equally stated that the Commission pursues its education and mobilization mandate through a number of strategies under the National Integrity Project which is a platform for institutionalizing integrity in various sectors of the socio-economic landscape.
He listed some of the strategies to include the National Anti-corruption Volunteer Corps (NAVC), the National Anti-Corruption Coalition (NACC), Integrity First Initiative (IFI), NYSC Community Development Service (CDS) and the National Values Curriculum (NVC) for use at all levels of education.
Nta said ICPC has also established the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria (ACAN) as its research and training arm to provide world-class law enforcement and Anti-Corruption education.
Taking cognizance of the fact that youths are the leaders of tomorrow, the anti-graft body has evolved startegies, while also launching, among other programmes and activities, the Schools Anti-Corruption Clubs (SACs).
PR Nigeria gathered that as part of efforts to catch and groom Nigerian youths in their early years, ICPC had since inaugurated SACs in secondary schools, with a view to getting youths enlightened and involved in the anti-corruption crusade.
The club activities include but not limited to debates and discussions on corruption, competitions, drama and presentations.
There is also the Students Anti-Corruption Vanguards (SAVs), which was formed with the sole aim of encouraging young adults to actively get involved in the anti-corruption crusade before they join the wider society.
Checks by PR Nigeria revealed that just within few years of its formation, SACs have recorded remarkable successes in the anti-corruption fight.
This is by effectively engaging and involving students from schools across the country to help wage a debilitating blow against the corruption monster.
Recently, Mrs. Rasheedat Okoduwa, at an educational event, said the ICPC schools anti-corruption clubs’ rejuvenation exercise took place in 1,539 schools across the 36 states.
She made the disclosure at ICPC Main Office in Abuja, during the prize-giving ceremony of the “Anti-Corruption Essay Competition for recently rejuvenated Students Anti-Corruption Clubs (SACs)”.
Students from some schools in FCT, Akwa-Ibom, Lagos and Rivers State participated in the competition.
PR Nigeria gathered that Youths Alive Foundation (YAF), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), partnered ICPC to organize the writing contest, which was funded by UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).
Mrs. Okoduwa noted that SAC has achieved tremendous success in helping to reshape the orientation and mindset of teenagers and youngsters on the ills and devastating effects of corruption to the economic life of any nation.
“To effectively carry out our public education and mobilization against corruption mandate, the Commission thought it wise to establish SAC. More than anything, our students are now better enlightened on corruption been a cankerworm that can ravage a nation’s economy. They now know that corruption only impoverishes the teeming majority, while enriching a tiny minority. Above, all SACs have succeeded in inculcating sound moral values on our students, who are the future leaders of tomorrow,” she added.
Mrs. Okoduwa, who is a Director at ICPC, while congratulating the five students who made it to the final round, also appreciated YAF for collaborating with their Commission towards the success hosting of the competition.
While disclosing that ICPC will partner the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to check the menace of vote-buying during the 2019 elections, she appealed to guests at the event to avoid trading their votes for money.
She said: “We are only mortgaging the future of our future generations when we sell votes to desperate and corrupt politicians”.
Delivering a goodwill message, the representative of YAF, expressed delight that the series of essay and debate competitions organized by ICPC since 2007, have helped to resuscitate poor readership culture among students.
He pledged YAF’s commitment to promoting and supporting educative programmes that will empower the youths, while also touching their lives positively.
During the award-presentation, Miss Testimony Essien of King Solomon School Akwa-Ibom, emerged as the 4th runner-up, while Miss Jessi Ruth of G.S.S Jabi, in Abuja, was the 3rd runner-up.
Just like the 4th and 3rd runner-ups, the only male student, Master Victor Abuka of Kings College Lagos, who finished as the 2nd runner-up, received a plaque for his school and a gift.
The duo of Miss Iledinma Okoro, a 13-year old student of New Fountain School Lagos, and Miss Mbong Abasi of Imperial Secondary School Eket, in Akwa-Ibom, emerged as 1st runner-up and the champion.
They got a brand new laptop and received a plaque on behalf of their schools.
Cross-section of guests at the event applauded ICPC for organizing the essay contest, which they said has helped to discover amazing student-writers that will help propagate the Commission’s anti-corruption message in their various schools.
Mahmud Abdulsalam is a staff writer with Economic Confidential Magazine and PRNigeria.