YIAGA Takes Anti-Corruption Crusade to Borno, Kano and Kaduna States
It is no more news that Nigeria ranks 148 out of 180 countries assessed in 2017 Corruption Perception Index report on the perception of the state of corruption in the country. Out of 100 points signaling maximum transparency and no corruption, Nigeria scored 27 points. This is despite the highly touted anti-corruption campaign by the Current administration. According to the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DIFID) 2015 study on Corruption and Poverty in Nigeria, corruption in the public sector remains a sore spot in Nigeria’s quest to instil transparency and accountability in the polity. The study also reveals that corruption is the basis for failure in social service delivery like power supply, and collapse of infrastructure. On the other hand, there is no political will to fight corruption in the workings of the polity, especially at the states and local government levels.
It is against the backdrop that YIAGA AFRICA through the Strengthening Citizen’s Resistance Against Prevalence of Corruption (SCRAP C) Project began anti-corruption sensitization programs across Nigeria. The SCRAP-C project which aims to influence social norms and attitudes that help corruption thrive in Nigeria with a view to effect a social change kicked off its sensitization campaigns with Civil Society Organisation and Media parley in Borno, Kano and Kano state.
The Project which is funded with UK aid is led by an ActionAid led consortium made up of Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Centre for Communication and Social Impact (CCSI), with strategic implementing partners including YIAGA Africa, is designed to contribute to a reduction in corruption because of changing public attitudes that increasingly disapprove of corrupt practices.
We also seek to build public demand and attitudes for anti-corruption through strengthened and organized collective and individual actions and voices. Through its strategy, the campaign will have national and state specific engagement in Kaduna, Kano (extending activities to Jigawa), Lagos, Enugu, Borno and Akwa Ibom.
Thus, in carrying out advocacy around initiatives that strengthen the resistance of young people against the prevalence of corruption in Kaduna, Kano and Borno states (which is within its implementing purview), YIAGA Africa had in September met with over 45 youth based civil society organizations and media outfits to further amplify the anticorruption campaign.
During the CSO-Parley, our accountability and social justice department team lead, Tracy Keshi, charged the various CSO groups on the necessity of the anti-corruption campaign as it seeks to influence social behaviors among citizens, hence promote zero tolerance for corruption and impunity across board. She noted that it was necessary to tackle the issue of corruption using the bottom-top approach as the project seeks to advance the idea that changes in social behaviors among citizens is a better strategy in reducing corruption in Nigeria.
We are also glad that various CSOs and Media pledged their commitments in ensuring that the project serves its purpose, especially in helping to close the information gap among citizens as it relates to corruption and its damaging effects on the society. They further thanked the organizers for the initiative, citing that the decision to have included Borno among the other two states was timely, considering the insurgency that had bedeviled the state in recent years. Stakeholders in Borno felt that the state stands more to benefit as the campaign will help improve citizens’ consciousness on the effects of corruption in their community and how they can contribute in stopping the scourge.
In recognizing that at the center of this project is the promotion of collaboration and networking with different stakeholders involved in the campaign against corruption and impunity in Nigeria, YIAGA Africa leveraging on its relationship with the anti-corruption agencies paid a courtesy call to the zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Borno State, Kano and Kaduna States respectively. During the visits, the team, led by its program officer Tracy Keshi informed the commission of the SCRAP C project.
Mrs. Keshi during the meeting with noted that it was important for citizens especially in rural areas to be well informed about what the anticorruption agency is doing as regards to the anti-corruption campaign and how they can also be actively involved and collaborate with the commission in the anti-corruption war. She assured the commission of YIAGA Africa and it’s supporting partners commitment on this regard.
During the meeting which was held at the EFCC Zonal office in Maiduguri, Mr Jiddah who received the team on behalf of the Head of Operations lauded the initiative, thus stating that project is timely to improve anticorruption activities in a bid to reduce corruption in Nigeria. The meeting was attended by principal officers of the EFCC Maiduguri office. Mr. Jiddah, in expressing the commission’s commitment believes that the SCRAP C‘s strategy in closing the information gap among citizens and especially youths is timely and a welcomed development.
Similar meetings were held with Mr. Muhuyi Rimingado, the Executive Chairman Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission, as well as the Kaduna State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Barr. (Mrs) Umma Hikima, who in their separate meetings at their respective states lauded the initiatives and expressed their commitments to the project. Mr. Rimingado stated that the commission was doing its best in ensuring that corrupt elements, especially in the educational sectors are flushed out. He considered the educational sector as very vital, stating that if corruption isn’t tackled properly, it will be passed on to learning students who then move on to the larger society.
These engagements were followed by a robust two-day training workshop on “evidence-based reporting of corruption” in the three states, as well as campaign sensitization and anti-corruption solidarity walks/rally across the respective states to raise awareness on values of Integrity, Honesty and Transparency. The capacity training had a total of for 83 participants from 77 Civil Society organizations and Media outfits in attendance. The training which had very engaging practical sessions, enhanced the Knowledge of the trainees and further expanded their capacity – particularly in the use of the Freedom of Information Act(FOI), 2011, as well as Social Audit as social accountability tools in leading behavioral change movements in their various localities in order to achieve the goal of the SCRAP C project.
In similar vein, there was Anti-Corruption sensitization rally across the three states. The walk which was done in the spirit of solidarity of the anti-corruption war saw over 500 young people held peaceful rallies in support of the Upright4Nigeria campaign. Interestingly, despite the security challenges in places like Maiduguri, youths still came out in their numbers in support of the anti-corruption campaign, and no challenges were faced as there were adequately protected by the security agencies.
YIAGA AFRICA Senior Program Officer, Accountability and Social Justice