By Emmanuel Afonne
The Centre for Fiscal Transparency and Integrity Watch (CeFTIW), Nigeria, has called for the digitisation of the entire Nigerian system to curb corruption in the country.
Mr Umaru Yakubu, Executive Director, CeFTIW, made the call in Abuja at the 2023 International Anti-corruption Day organised by the centre in partnership with the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR).
Yakubu said digitising the system would remove the application of ‘power of discretion’ by individuals in positions of authority.
“Usually, discretion breeds corruption and once you digitise the system, corruption is eliminated.”
Yakubu said that the power of discretion, low level of transparency and accountability were the major causes of corruption in the country.
The executive director said that the centre targeted members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in the year’s event since young people were expected to lead the fight against corruption.
“We initiated a programme like this to enhance and educate the citizens starting with our NYSC members because they are in the age bracket that need to be sentised now as they will soon go into the labour market soon.
“We are trying to indoctrinate corps members to shun corruption whenever they see it.
“So, they need to be sensitised on what not to do when they get into government or in the public space.
“We are also urging the government to do the right thing to curb corruption–for example, digitising the system because it will remove the power of discretion.’’
He urged parents to also join in the fight against corruption as parents were expected to nip corruption in the bud at its incubation level which usually manifests in a child from primary school level.
“The incubation stage of corruption is usually from the primary school; and it is the primary responsibility of the family and that of the parents to nip it in the bud at that early stage.
“When that is not done properly, the child grows up to think that what is wrong is right.
“And so it becomes much harder when the child becomes adult because at that stage, he or she has grown up with that mentality that he or she can take something that belongs to other people without being chastised.
“So, that is the initial stage that needs to be paid attention to deal with corruption,” he said.
Also speaking, Mr Victor Agi, Public Relations Officer of CeFTIW, urged law enforcement agents to stand strong in the fight against corruption as they were working for Nigerians and not personally for the politicians.
Agi urged them to go after corrupt officials.
“We should think of Nigeria’s interest; the cost of corruption to the country is enormous and we should be thinking about how to curb it.
“Leaders should know that we don’t have another country and as such should stop acting corruptly and have a rethink of their action, if it will negatively impact the country,” he said.
Winifred Ifunanya, a corps member who participated in the event, commended the government for setting up anti-corruption agencies but said they were not doing enough considering the increasing rate of corruption and financial crimes in the society.
Ifunanya pleaded with the government not to allow corruption to eat up the space meant for the next generation.
Another corps member, Oluwatosin Akinnuoye, said that the fight against corruption should not be left for the government alone.
“The citizens are also involved in the fight against corruption. We have the duty to create jobs as entrepreneurs.
“We create jobs by acquiring skills which in turn give us the opportunity to be employers of labour and assist the economy of the country,” she said.
She urged the government to ensure it creates an enabling environment for the economy to thrive and also train corps members on different skills to make them self-reliant.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the organisers engaged the corps members in a quiz competition on organised crime and corruption.
There was also debate and drama presentation, with winners going home with cash prizes. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Chijioke Okoronkwo