The 2012 World Anti-Corruption Day Celebration was last Saturday marked in Port Harcourt by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), the Transparent Leadership Initiative International (TLI), National Anti-Corruption Volunteer Corps (NACV), National Anti-Corruption Coalition Corps (NACC) and Chaplaincy Development Foundation (CDF).
Addressing the gathering, the Zonal Head ICPC, Rivers State, Prince Ndu Okparaibea said 9th of December every year has been set aside by the United Nations to mark anti-corruption crusade globally. He described ICPC as the first anti corruption agency in Nigeria empowered by law to tackle corruption, but lamented that the law limits their operations to only when a petition is written against somebody.
Okparaibea warned those indulge in corrupt activities to desist forthwith or face the wrath of the law.
The Zonal Head also cautioned the public against bringing fake information to the commission, stressing that a 7 year jail term awaits offenders.
Enumerating some of the functions of ICPC, he said investigation and prosecution of corrupt persons are chief of their brief. Others he said are educating and fostering support in the fight against corruption and regretted that the staff strength of the Commission is not enough to combat corruption in the country. Okparaibea therefore called on the affiliate NGOs to be more focused and committed in complementing the efforts of ICPC.
He warned local government chairmen who he said use the council funds like their private money to desist from such act in their own interest.
Commenting on some of the challenges confronting the Commission, he said the provisions in the law that limit ICPC to act only when a petition is sent to it is slowing the functions of the Commission.
The Zonal Head also called for independent court to try corrupt cases to speed up the process.
He commended TLI for its support to the success of the 2012 WACD ceremony and charged other NGOs to emulate them.
Delivering a lecture at the event, the international President of TLI, Amb. Engr. Prince Promise Onyeche said it is important for all the ICPC affiliates to be transparent in their dealings, since according to him, it will be awkward to claim to be fighting corruption, when you are not transparent.
He faulted the Transparency International rating of Nigeria as the 35th most corrupt country in the world, contending that the rating must have been informed by government’s poor funding of ICPC.
He, however, assured that as an ambassador of ICPC, his organization will not relent in its effort to fighting corruption.
Onyeche urged other NGOs not to give up the fight, until Nigeria is free from corruption. The TLI Boss also reminded the NGOs that it is their duty to sensitive people to report corruption cases to ICPC, assuring that TLI will mobilize the people to petition corrupt leaders.
Earlier, the Chaplain General of Chaplaincy Development Foundation, Mr. Ignatius Okwalogbo had said that no kind of corruption is trivial.
According to him, fight against corruption should start from the families Okwalogbo was emphatic that corrupt fight should be total and urged those involved in the crusade to live exemplary lives, stressing that the corruption fight is a collective responsibility.
The event which started with a rally from Isaac Boro Park Fly-over terminated at Rumuogba, by Artillery. This year’s theme, is “Lets Join Hands To Say No To Bribery And Corruption. ###