MAURICE OKAFOR writes that an African led international Non-governmental Organization ‘Alliances for Africa[AFA], with focus on human rights, Peace and sustainable development has described collaborative efforts of the media, civil society organizations, community and Religious leaders etc as very essential ingredient in curtailing the increasing tide of corruption in Nigeria, through effective anti -corruption crusade in the country. It stated that the ugly menace of corruption ‘stalls sustainable development and breeds fertile ground for economic instability and poverty’
The NGO laments that the efforts of the government towards this direction has remained elusive in the fight against the menace, therefore the vital need for the media and civil organizations etc to intensify anti corruption crusades in all ramifications.
In a press statement signed by AFA Communications officer, Chinwendu Anozie, made available to ‘THE AUTHORITY South East voice in Enugu, the group said recent statistics shows that Nigeria ranks 148 out of a total of 176 countries of the world, in corruption index.
According to AFA, some of the factors that contributes to the high level of corruption in Nigeria includes weak public institutions, poverty, the scramble for resources, poor pay and incentives, lacking fear of God, ineffective political process, absence of key anti- corruption tools and lack of adequate public awareness on anti – corruption.
To reverse the trend, AFA says, ‘Interventions to address corruption in Nigeria must go beyond civil society organizations and government efforts as we see today. It would involve a more intensified and diversified. It is critical to recognise the interest, the expertise and engagement of all key stakeholders relevant to corruption, including some powerful influences’
‘Here we are looking at government and private institutions, civil society organizations, the public, the parliamentarians and of course the media’.
The NGO advocates that the Media in partnership with civil organizations, etc through it’s agenda setting roles initiative can engage communities on public awareness against anti corruption at ‘Village Squares’,arranging for dialogues between communities and constituency leaders and gingering effective legislation etc.
‘We need to engage them in dialogue sessions to promote knowledge whilst highlighting measures and tolls to improve integrity and transparency in business and encourage linkages between businesses to promote collective action in private sectors to tackle corruption’.
AFA is optimistic that consistent engagement of government institutions by the media and civil society organizations etc can promote rule of law in the anti- corruption crusade and subsequently will build strong and transparent institutions that would turn the tide against corruption
AFA Communication Officer Chinwendu Anozie disclosed that with the support of MacArthur foundation and Yar’adua foundation, the organization is currently promoting anti – corruption and accountability crusades in Enugu and Ebonyi states,stating it has engaged some citizens of the two states in consultative dialogue to identify strategies to promote accountability and transparency in both states.
‘AFA has trained civil society organizations and the media to demand accountability from their leaders and mobilized massive community awareness in Enugu and Ebonyi states on the ills of corruption, charging citizens with the responsibility to be accountable for demanding transparency in governance. In joint efforts and consultation with others, AFA have produced anti- corruption tools which are community score cards, citizen’s report cards and compendium of commitment by political leaders in Enugu and Ebonyi states’. .