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Think Tank on Nigeria suggests way out of corruption

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If Nigeria is desirous of reducing corruption, it must take certain measures including teaching civic responsibilities in primary and secondary schools, and tertiary institutions.

Other suggestions by the policy advocacy online platform, Think Tank on Nigeria (TTON) included sharing social values and collective interests by the citizens to aid the fight against corruption; continuous electoral reforms to improve transparency, reduce the cost of electioneering and ensure that votes count; strengthening the legal and institutional frameworks by enacting and enforcing strong anti-corruption laws and regulations; and encourage citizen participation in governance.

In its communiqué released on Thursday, the group’s position was endorsed by 84 members of diverse professions and competences with the Managing Director of Kresta Laurel Limited, Engr. Dideolu Falobi as the convener.

The group also canvassed for the promotion of ethical behaviour by introducing incentives, and creating a culture where corruption is not tolerated. “This can be achieved through education and awareness campaigns, as well as through the establishment of codes of conduct and ethics,” the Think Tank said.

The full recommendations:

  • It is essential to teach civic responsibilities in primary schools, secondary schools, and tertiary institutions. Pupils must be taught to imbibe the spirit and culture of contentment. Parents/Guardians must check the bags of their children each time they come back home from school, with a view to stopping them from ‘taking’ what does not belong to them. Also, parents must watch out for the company their children keep. As it is said, ‘Show me your friend and I will tell you who you are’. Mindsets need to be changed, and enlightenment on the ills of corruption needs to be communicated from the level of children to adults.
  • It is important for citizens to recognise the importance of shared social values and collective interests, as well as to start fighting corruption from within themselves. Only then can we begin to tackle the problem of corruption in Nigeria.
  • Electoral reforms should be continued with a view to improve transparency, reduce the cost of electioneering and ensure that votes count. The process of electioneering and campaigns must be such that can encourage citizen participation and throw up credible candidates. The use of money to influence voters should not only be discouraged but severely punished in line with the law/electoral act. Those with questionable records need to be checkmated, and barred from positions of leadership and influence, not only politically but in other spheres of leadership.
  • We must strengthen the legal and institutional frameworks: Nigeria should enact and enforce strong anti-corruption laws and regulations, and create independent institutions to investigate and prosecute corruption cases.
  • Increase transparency: The government should ensure that its activities and decision-making processes are transparent and open to public scrutiny. This can be achieved by making information easily accessible to the public and by promoting the use of open data platforms.
  • Improve accountability: It is important to hold public officials and institutions accountable for their actions and inactions. We should establish oversight mechanisms, such as independent audit bodies and investigative commissions, to ensure that public officials are held accountable for their actions and inactions. Governments should also be made accountable and be required to do periodic accounts of their stewardship.
  • Encourage citizen participation: Public oversight can help to increase transparency and accountability. We should promote and incentivize citizen participation in governance.
  • Promote ethical behaviour: Nigeria should promote and incentivize ethical behaviour, and create a culture where corruption is not tolerated. This can be achieved through education and awareness campaigns, as well as through the establishment of codes of conduct and ethics.
  • Enhance international cooperation: We should enhance international cooperation and coordination to combat corruption, particularly in cases where it involves transnational criminal activities.
  • Increase public awareness: We should promote public awareness of the harmful effects of corruption on society and the economy, and educate citizens on their role in preventing and combating corruption. Enhancing public awareness of processes and bureaucracy at all levels would create an enabling environment for citizens to speak out.
  • For those of questionable wealth, checks need to be done on their tax status. Also, the tax percentages for the very rich should be higher than those of the common man in order to discourage wealth inequality. 12.In order to combat corruption, those involved in oversight functions should avoid all forms of corruption. Meritocracy should be promoted in all areas, and honesty, fairness, transparency, openness, equity, and accountability should not be compromised.
  • Those on the supply chain of corruption elements should be drastically reduced in order to reduce the demand.
  • Laws need to be put in place and enforced, with strong-willed good leaders in office.
  • It is also important to have a fairer society, with laws that are fair and practical for all citizens.
  • Checks and balances need to be put in place to checkmate corruption and best practice from other countries should be implemented.
  • Psychologists can be engaged to devise ways in which the minds of the citizens can be re-engineered and made to know that corruption is the bane of the society that affects the development of a nation. 18.Also, past administrations ought to be probed and offenders must be promptly prosecuted. 19.Remunerations for the offices of political office holders should be made less attractive.
  • It is important to focus on building strong institutions such as the Executive, National Assembly, and Judiciary, and ensure their independence from each other.
  • Corrupt practices should be punished with sanctions and penalties, which should be adequate and enforced.
  • Ensure that the Police, Immigration, Nigeria Customs Service, and other paramilitary agencies are adequately compensated. Good salary and welfare packages are important for curbing corruption. 23.Reduce direct human contact with institutional processes through technology. The government should focus on putting systems in place to prevent corruption rather than fighting it, invest in systems that minimize person-to-person contact, and develop a fair and equitable welfare system for workers in the public sector.
  • Ensure the sanctity of the rule of law, reviewing minimum wages to reflect the economic reality across all sectors, strengthening SERVICOM and ensuring its full functionality, and implementing the Freedom of Information Law.
  • Individuals should strive to be role models and be accountable for their actions and inactions.
  • There is a need to develop a robust credit system that will allow people to live their “dream” lives.
  • Reduction of the poverty level.

The discussion was informed by many factors, particularly the Transparency International’s Corruption Index, which ranks countries and territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be. In 2021, Nigeria had 24 points and was ranked 154th in the 180 countries worldwide, and 40th among 53 African countries.

TTON is a policy advocacy platform with over 250 members of various professions drawn from the different geo-political zones of Nigeria. According to the group, it discusses and analyses Nigerian policies and politics, with the aim of proffering solutions to developmental challenges the country might be faced with.

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