By Amaechi Ugwele
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has tasked Nigerians to shun corruption that is plaguing the country.
In a town hall meeting that took place in Ogbede, the council headquarters of Igbo-Etiti LGA of Enugu State, the Commission led by its Zonal Commissioner for the South East Barrister Amedu Sule, made it clear it was visiting the area to interact with the people and inculcate in them the anti corruption ideals in tune with its constitutional obligations and core mandate to the people and government of Nigeria.
In his welcome remarks, the Executive Chairman of Igbo-Etiti LGA, Hon. Malachy Agbo, observed that the enlightenment campaign were long overdue as citizens of the area needed to be fully attuned with what constituted infractions and what the law said about these in order to discourage those who would tend to engage in corrupt practices.
“Your visit should have been earlier when we newly came in. However, today is still early enough as it is never too late to change for good. Everyday is an opportunity to learn and by the time you took us through your sensitizations, we would have been fully enlightened to know how to conduct ourselves as ignorance is never an excuse before the law”, Agbo said.
Meanwhile, in his address, the Chairman of the Commission, Alhaji Musa Abubakar, represented by the Zonal Commissioner, noted that corruption was not only a major hindrance to development in Nigeria but was a major threat to its survival as a nation.
He enjoined participants to endeavour to go home with a new resolve and culture against corruption to enable Nigeria thrive in its full potentials.
The Commissioner for Local Government Matters, Hon. Chijioke Edoga, represented by a Director in the Ministry, Mrs. Vivian Onah, in his address noted the ministry partnered the Commission in keeping with the State government’s policy of transparency, accountability and good governance.
He said as the Commission was not in the council to witch-hunt anyone but rather to enlighten the citizens on the best practices of conducting business and government activities, it was necessary they took advantage of the meeting to upgrade their knowledge on the anti corruption laws of the land, to avoid its negation and the consequences.
The Chairman of Igbo-Etiti Council of Traditional Rulers, His Royal Highness, Igwe Mike Odo, in his speech, while observing corruption was a global phenomenon, he said it has sadly taken deep roots in every facet of our national life hence activities such as the town hall meeting were needed to uproot it from the country.
Members of the Commission took time to outline various acts of corruption and their penalties upon conviction, as well as the scenarios that engender them, in sessions that were educative as they shed much lights to issues that matter most about corruption and its prevention.
At the end, people were given the room to ask questions that were attended to in details, while their contributions and suggestions were well noted by the Commission.
The event was attended by principal officers of both the executive and legislative arms of the council, councillors, traditional rulers, presidents general of town unions, leaders of thoughts, council workers, traders, and other members of the public.