The Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, says it is wrong to tag all Nigerians as corrupt in financial or other dealings of human endeavours.
Owasanoye said this on Wednesday in Abuja at the Behaviour Change Conference and Exhibition 2023, with the theme: ‘Anti-Corruption Interventions in Nigeria-A Behavioral Change Perspective of What Needs to Shift.”
The conference was jointly organised by MacArthur Foundation, Akin Fadeyi Foundation, and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, alongside other partners.
Owasanoye said, “At one of the recent policy dialogues organised by the ICPC, two very vocal participants boisterously but erroneously maintained that Nigerians who are not corrupt are those who have not had the opportunity to abuse or collude in the abuse of public office, authority or position.
“This erroneous belief by relatively few people that all Nigerians are corrupt can be considered in the light of the traditional anti-corruption interventions in Nigeria and the recent efforts towards expanding the focus of anti-corruption interventions to include the behavioural change approach.
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“From my experience in leading the anti-corruption fight at the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption and the ICPC, I can tell you categorically that not all Nigerians are corrupt.”
He further noted that some of the heads of government organisation fell prey to corruption blackmail from their subordinates, because they did not read and understand some of the rules, thus getting misled by the same people who would now send anonymous petitions against them.
Meanwhile, the lead organiser of the event and the founder of the Akin Fadeyi Foundation, Mr Akin Fadeyi, said, “This event was not just to showcase our work, it was strategic to reevaluating our scorecards and redesign more robust templates aimed at scaling up our milestones in measurable impactful proportions.”
On his part, the Country Director, MacArthur Foundation, Dr Kole Shettima, wondered when Nigerian politicians would be self-reformed to work for national interest, rather than their personal interests that harm national interests.
Also, Miss Lilian Ekeanyanwu who represented the Country Director, UNODC, Mr Oliver Stolpe, said, “The fight against corruption is not complete without addressing issues of transparency, integrity, and accountability. At the core of these values is behavioural change or the attitudes of citizens and their government. As we already know, combatting and preventing corruption requires a holistic framework and multi-sectoral approach.”