Home » Anti Corruption War; CLEEN Foundation Holds Town-Hall Meeting in Kaduna

Anti Corruption War; CLEEN Foundation Holds Town-Hall Meeting in Kaduna

 Towards Fostering Citizens’ Support for the War
against Corruption.
The word “corruption” in Nigeria today evokes strong sentiments and myriad feelings
among Nigerians. For about three decades in the history of the nation; perhaps there
has never been a time that the nation has been awash and bedeviled with the
experiences of corruption and the use of the word like the present times and
administration. Corruption in Nigeria pervades most sectors of the public life. While
cases of corruption also abound in the private sector in terms of monetary and
administrative related corruption, the public sector is a key area that has been identified
as a conduit for looting public funds by public servants. Recent cases of accused public
officials (serving and retired) give credence to the urgent and critical need to make
public institutions and structures more accountable and transparent in their dealings.
Presently, the country ranks 136 among 168 countries in the 2015 Corruption Perception
Index released by the Transparency International. This is a stark rating that calls for
urgent need to deploy all necessary measures to stem the tide of corruption in Nigeria.
It has also been observed by a section of Nigerians that the current anti-corruption
efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari would achieve very little unless it becomes a
paramount agenda that can be pursued at the state and local government levels. This is
because public opinion on the fight against corruption differs. For some Nigerians, it is
indicative that it is an exclusive agenda of the sitting President that is driven only at the
federal level, even though corruption exists at other levels (State and local government
institutions and processes). Whereas, some have observed strongly that the war against
corruption is selective and targets only politicians of the former administration amongst
other assertions.
Specific areas where corruption has been linked to States and Local Government
Authorities (LGAs) are: joint account operation between states and LGAs, procurement
and award of contracts and lack of transparency and monitoring in budgeting processes
and implementation etc. The absence of data and information and a poor record keeping
system from the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) is a strong factor that
has aided corruption at the lower levels of government. Thus, citizens’ engagement
becomes pivotal for an open and transparent system of governance.
Citizens need to participate in these processes to demand accountability by claiming the
space in the fight against corruption at the states and LGAs. As a civil society
organization at forefront of justice sector reforms, CLEEN Foundation believes the
essential legal instrument that could assist the citizens to check corruption within state
institutions and processes at local level is the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act. This
details the right of citizens to request and receive government-held documents which
  • should allow for effective citizen engagement in public policy and governance. A free
    flow of information on government performance enhances participation and opens the
    door for civil society to engage itself in public policy.
    The town hall meeting organized by the CLEEN Foundation will hold on Wednesday
    29th June 2016 in Kaduna State with the theme: ‘Fostering Citizens’ Support for the
    War against Corruption in Nigeria’ The meeting will build the capacity of community
    members and other key stakeholders at the state and local government levels on
    engaging with available tools and innovative channels to participate in the fight against
    all forms of corruption. Representatives from the leading anti-graft agencies will present
    papers and respond to open floor discussions on how citizens can be part of the fight
    against corruption thereby demanding accountability and transparency in the state
    institutions and local governance processes. The Kaduna Town hall meeting will also
    focus on the cost of corruption in Nigeria with a view to offer perspectives to the citizens
    on the far-reaching negative effects corruption has engendered on almost all sectors of
    the economy namely: infrastructure, security, welfare, economic, politics and health
    among others. The town hall meeting will provide a platform for information sharing
    from the agency representatives to the citizens on steps they could take to help
    strengthen the fight against corruption.
    Similar Town hall meetings are planned for Lagos, Rivers and Benue States before the
    end of the year. These meetings will hopefully generate far-reaching effects that trickle
    down to the grassroots in making citizens more aware of corruption and the negative
    effects towards securing their commitment to fight it. Through this sustained efforts
    across Nigeria, citizens’ engagement to demand transparency and accountability and
    generate crosscutting ideas to check corrupt practices within government and its
    institutions will be greatly enhanced.
    Kaduna State presents a good starting point to promote our anti-corruption
    engagements given the goodwill from the State government as expressed in its readiness
    and openness to support such laudable efforts for an open society. Civil Society
    organisations in support of anti-corruption will continue to collaborate with such state
    governments in making public funds work for the people towards an open and
    accountable government.

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