By Matthew Ogune, Abuja
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, (HoCSF), Dr. Mrs. Folasade Yemi-Esan and the Independent Corrupt Practice and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) have called for a concerted and collective efforts at individual and national levels to win the war against corruption.
They made this call at the Inaugural Monthly Reform Initiative Lecture Series held via Webinar.
While appreciating President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts in fighting corruption, Akpabio noted that the president’s ability to deliver on his mandates to Nigerians depends largely on the capacity of the Civil Service to faithfully implement government programmes.
According to the minister, “this can only happen if we rise-up to the challenge by discipline and applying ourselves wholly to the task ahead with transparency and accountability.
“Corruption continues to be source of concern in the country and indeed the world over,” noting that “there is need for deliberate, concerted and collective efforts at the individual and national levels to deal with it.”
Akpabio enjoined all staff not to take the lecture as a mere talk, but to use them to design innovative methods and ideas which will help fast-track the development of the Niger Delta region, as well as finding solutions to the various challenges inhibiting the activities of government agencies and those of the development partners in the region.
The Minister re-assured his unflinching support for programmes and initiatives aimed at formulating and coordinating policies for development and security of the Niger Delta region.
He disclosed that the core objective of the lecture series was to enhance the performance of staff of the ministry through continuous exercise of knowledge sharing, acquisition and application.
He commended the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Adesola Olusade for his innovative idea, in spite of the limitation brought upon the nation by the necessity to contain and fight the novel Covid-19 pandemic currently ravaging the whole world.
Earlier, in her goodwill message, Yemi-Esan, said that she was excited to learn from the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, that the Ministry has taken the ‘bull by the horn’ in designing an in-house training programme to support service wide effort in building the capacity of the federal civil servants in the ministry.
She therefore commended the ministry for the bold initiative which according to her, is in line with the current vision of improved Federal Civil Service based on innovation culture and ethics of the profession, advising other Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDA’s, to key in.
Yemi-Esan said the Lecture Series with the Theme: “Emerging Corruption trend: Role of the Management in Enhancing Anti-Corruption Principles in the Work Place”, is very apt.
She therefore charged anti-corruption units in all MDA’s to energize them to leave up to expectations.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr.Adesola Olusade in his remarks said the launching of the Reform Initiative Monthly Lecture Series was welcomed by the Head of Service which is conceived essentially as a platform for enlightenment and dissemination of ideas and information on Public Service Reform Agenda of the Federal Government.
According to the Permanent Secretary, he has directed all the Heads of Departments to resuscitate Departmental Meetings in order to actively engage and also train staff as he also intends to participate in the exercise by personally going round to get first-hand information on the observance of this directive, once all restrictions to fight Covid-19 are substantially lifted.
The resource person, Director & Head, Corruption, Monitoring and Evaluation Department, ICPC, Mr. Abbia Udofia, Esq.in his presentation stated that corruption is complex due to its amoebic natures, traditions, culture, statutes of different nations and jurisdiction. Udofia also explained that according to Transparency International, corruption could also be described as the abuse of entrusted power for private gain.
He identified traditional trends of corruption in the Public Service as gratification before performance of public duty, nepotism in recruitment and hiring of personnel, fictitious expenditure and claims, diversion and misuses of allocated project funds, stealing of project support vehicles and other materials, false age and asset declarations connivance with payment of bribes in foreign currency, inflating the number of staff on the IPPIS, non-remittance of pensions and sundry claims.
He also identified the effects of corruption on the nation and the Niger Delta region as poor infrastructure and service delivery, lowers foreign investment due to undue and corrupt pressure on investors which tends to dent national reputation and enhance stigmatization of Nigerians, while the effect on the region will lead to civil strives, youth restiveness, pipeline vandalisation and environmental devastation amongst others.
Udofia advised that leaders should lead by example not precepts, build and maintain a strong ethical infrastructure, monitor and evaluate the integrity of projects for quality and specification and promote virtual engagements to save time and resources and risk of travel by personnel, expose and report corrupt activities, sanction misconducts and reward honesty and hard work.