Emir of Ilorin seeks anti-corruption crusade in schools, rural communities

The Emir of Ilorin and Chairman, Kwara State Traditional Council of Chiefs, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari has pleaded with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to take the Anti-Corruption campaign to both primary and Secondary Schools in the rural areas of the country.

The Emir made the appeal in Ilorin, the state capital on Thursday during a road walk organised by the EFCC and other security agencies to mark the Africa Union anti-corruption Day themed, “Effective Whistleblower Protection Mechanism: A Critical Tool in the Fight Against Corruption.”

Officials of the Ilorin zonal command of the EFCC led other sister agencies, traditional rulers, Civil Society organisations, NYSC members and individuals on a road walk through designated routes in Ilorin, the state capital.

Speaking during the road walk, the Emir who was represented by Oba Oluwagbemiga Oloyede, Olusin of Isanlu Isin advised the commission to appoint officers in all the 16 local government areas of the state for the task to deepen the campaign against corruption in the rural areas.

The traditional ruler, who described the walk as a good exercise aimed at fighting against corruption in the society together with the anti-graft agency, said that it should be taken to communities, villages, and from primary to secondary schools.

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“The EFCC should also set a day for the anti-corruption walk exercise in the grassroots areas of the state whereby the villagers would move around their communities and villages to preach to residents and embark on advising young ones against corrupt practices and catch them young against corruption.

“This is because corruption is everywhere in the country. An example of corruption is examination malpractice prevalent in our schools. If this form of exercise is taken to nooks and crannies of our state, corruption would be wiped away”, he said.

In his address, the Executive Chairman of EFCC,  Ola Olukoyede, said that aside from terrorism, corruption ranks as the next deadliest affliction of humanity in every region of the world.

Olukoyede, whose message, titled, Deepening Anti-Corruption Fight Through Effective Whistle Blowing delivered by the zonal director of the EFCC, Harry Erin, said that one way of fighting corruption is through the whistle-blowing initiative.

He said, “In view of the danger and threat to our existence which corruption represents, it is imperative that individuals, communities, corporate bodies and indeed the whole world join hands together to tackle it frontally. One way of doing this is through the whistle-blowing initiative.

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“The Whistle-Blowing Policy in Nigeria was launched on December 21, 2016, by the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Finance as an anti-corruption programme that encourages people to voluntarily disclose information about fraud, bribery, looted government funds, financial misconduct, abuse or embezzlement of government assets and any other form of corruption or theft.

“The theme of the 2024 African Anti-Corruption Day is “Effective Whistleblowing for Corruption-Free Nigeria”. Whistleblowers are anti-corruption promoters. Through their efforts, anti-corruption agencies are alerted about environmental compromises that should be investigated. The alert can come through verbal and non-verbal corridors.”

He added that at the EFCC, ”the Eagle Eye app is an established corruption reporting device that is generating intelligence the commission can leverage on. I urge whistleblowers to key into this device. Mails can be sent, telephone calls can be made, and personal visits can be made to any EFCC Command across the country to expose acts of shadiness around us. We also assure every whistle-blower of protection. EFCC will never betray you!

“One salient fact about whistle blowing is that it shows commitment and drive towards anti-corruption. No effort is too little in this regard. Although there are ample rewards accruable to the whistleblower, the most important thing is the need to move the wheel of anti-corruption forward. This is a duty for every Nigerian and it is the focus of this year’s anti-corruption Day.

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“On this note, I want all of us to embrace this obligation more seriously. We cannot win the war against corruption through lip service, emotional outburst or mere mob campaigns. There is a need for commitment, passion, consistency and credibility of intelligence.”

He pointed out that every whistle blown must point towards truth and evidential proofs, warning that there is punishment for false claims and misleading intelligence.

“Finally, let us always remember that corruption affects all of us. An internet fraudster poses as much danger to our progress as a looter of our national treasury. We should not encourage their villainy by being indifferent, silent or non-committal. Whistle-blowing is our opportunity to kick against corruption. Let’s embrace it totally,” he said.

Members of sister agencies such as the NSCDC, Nigeria Immigration Service, Customs, FRSC, and NYSC, as well as associations like RTEAN, NURTW, tricycle associations, heads of agencies and parastatals and media, participated in the walk.

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