ICPC Blames Official Corruption on Expectation from Political Office Holders
Chairman of Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, yesterday, attributed the rising level of corruption in public office in Nigeria to pressure from the citizenry.
Owasanoye made the assertion in Abuja at a “National Policy Dialogue on Corruption, Social Norms, and Behaviour Change” in Nigeria organised by ICPC, in collaboration with the Anti- Corruption Academy of Nigeria, supported by MacArthur Foundation.
Owasanoye expressed concern about the prevalence of corruption in the country, and noted that people expected public office holders to confer on members of their communities benefits from the offices they occupied, regardless of whether such benefits were corrupt practices in themselves or they came from the proceeds of corruption
He said, “The timing of this Policy Dialogue on Corruption, Social Norms and Behaviour Change in Nigeria could not have come at a better time than now, when the foundation of our social values and norms has become seriously threatened.
“In actual fact, a lot of changes are taking place across the wider Nigerian society. But more worrisome, to me, is the emergence and pervasive spread of corruption-inducing social norms across all ethnicities and religious divides.
“In spite of widespread cultural and religious perception of corruption as a negation of societal values, a survey carried out by ACAN-ICPC in 2020 revealed that corruption among public servants is enabled by community ambivalence towards the proceeds of corruption.”
In his remarks, President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Yakubu Maikyau, said NBA was ready to support ICPC in its effort to stamp out corrupt practices in society.
Maikyau emphasised the need to discourage corrupt practices and begin to interrogate those who suddenly became rich in society, to know the source of their wealth. He said this measure would help to revive the lost social norms and values in society.
Director of African Operations, MacArthur Foundation, Dr Kole Shettima, emphasised the need to work around the social norm behaviour. Shettima said the foundation had worked with a number of institutions to revive social norm behaviour in society.