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AFRICMIL charges communities to report corrupt practises to speed development across communities


By Okechukwu Onuegbu

The Coordinator, African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL), Dr Chido Onumah, Monday, charged Anambra residents to strive to identify and report practices around them without fear or favour.

Onumah, disclosed this in Awka, the Anambra State capital, at a stepdown training and meeting for community based organisations (CBOs) on strengthening the capacity of stakeholders on the whistleblowing policy.

The training was supported by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, as part of the AFRICMIL programme focused on media, information, research, advocacy and training, with a view to enhance democracy, good governance, promotion of accountability and orderly society.

The Coordinator, represented by the Senior Programme Officer, AFRICMIL, Mr Godwin Onyeacholem, observed that underreporting and non-reporting of corrupt practices were some of the reasons corruption thrives in the society, thereby making lives miserable mostly to rural dwellers.

"As we all are aware, combating corruption through early detection and exposure of mismanagement, bribery, fraud, theft of public funds and other illicit acts is an effective strategy in the fight against corruption. Whistleblowing has proven to be the most direct method of exposing corrupt acts. We are both morally abd legally bound as citizens not to keep silent or acquiesce to any act of corruption or wrongdoings whenever we see one. 

" We want to ensure that people across communities are aware of whistleblowing policy and need to expose corruption. We want them to understand that corruption is what make their lives miserable. It is a common knowledge that the rural dwellers feel both the pains and gains of poor or good governance than others. They should try as much possible to report corruption to change our society. 

"This is why we introduced the citizen based platform through which people can make their reports anonymously without fear or favour. Today, our mission is to make the CBOs which have an enduring presence in the communities, a formidable collaborator in disavowing the negative culture of silence and embracing the more rewarding attitude of speaking out in the face of anything that could potentially harm or endanger their environments," he added.

On his part, a Development expert and Chairman, Anambra State Civil Society Network, Prince Chris Azor, charged communities to key into the programme, which according to him, would enable them to identify government projects sited at their place, monitor and report their progress appropriately.

Azor, who noted that reporting corruption would help to sanitise the system, revive the culture and norms for progressive and developmental Nigeria, said that whistleblowing policy was a good initiative everyone should key into.

Contributing, a conflict resolution expert from Rotary International, Dr Dennis Ekemezie, stressed the needs for the media and civil society organisations to invest more on investigation, which he said would enable gather accurate reports and report them appropriately.

Ekemezie, while stressing the need for proper monitoring of Constituency projects, charged CSOs and the media not to be confrontational while engaging with the contractors but to employ advocacy and other mechanism.

The programme was attended by the community based organisations and media organisations. 

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