Okon Bassey in Uyo
Students in public and private schools across the country have been urged to join anti-corruption clubs in their schools in order to fight corruption now posing as a threat to the advancement of the nation.
The Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Mr. Bako Abdullahi made the call at the State College, Ikot Ekpene, during the inauguration of the anti-corruption clubs for public secondary schools in Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District, Akwa Ibom State.
Abdullahi, who was represented by the Akwa Ibom Zonal Officer, Ibrahim Alkali, said the establishment of the clubs in public schools was initiated because of the recognition of the important role youths could play in the war against endemic corruption in the country.
“The ICPC recognises you as a major stakeholder in the war against endemic corruption. As youths, you are endowed with the ability to make people accept new social standards and influence the general public to accept them.
“If young men and women like you shun corrupt behaviours and mobilise others to do same, the nation will be better for it as it will go a long way towards the enthronement and institutionalisation of integrity, transparency, accountability and sound moral values in our country.
“As the leaders of tomorrow, make a personal declaration today to shun corruption as your own contribution to the survival of this country. Total elimination of corruption in a society may be difficult to achieve, yet it is possible to build or evolve a society where the level of corruption would be very minimal.”
In a paper ‘The Imperative of Anti-corruption Clubs in Schools’, the Zonal Commissioner South-south, Mr. Henry Emore, represented by Hassan Gadu, said corrupt practices in Nigerian schools has reached embarrassing heights, hence the need to form anti-corruption clubs in schools.
“Vices such as examination malpractices, sometimes aided and abetted by parents, cultism, sexual abuse, extortion, assault, on teachers by students, parents and of students by teachers have become the order of the day.
“This phenomenon is to say the least a threat to the effectiveness of the fight against corruption because such bad products of the education system pollute society rather than refine it.
“Anti-corruption clubs in schools can check these corrupt practices by both students and teachers. By the time the club is able to keep proper watch of developments in its environment and instantly report corrupt practices to school’s authorities or the ICPC, the club would have achieved part of its aims and objectives.
“A corrupt society holds no future for its youths as there will be no sound education and no gainful employment. It is therefore incumbent on the youths to fight corruption to a standstill in order to make sure that the leaders of today do not bequeath to them a bleak future.
He urged members of the club to always report corrupt practices to their school authorities, adding that students should feel free to approach the commission as quickly as possible where the school authorities fail to take appropriate action.
As a means of encouragement, he added that the commission would provide adequate protection for members of the club against possible victimization by teachers, school management or fellow students.
In his remarks, the Commissioner for Education, Professor Victor Inoka, represented by Director Educational Development Services (EDS), Mr. Idongesit Etuk, lauded the ingenuity of the ICPC for the initiative of mobilizing youths to fight against corruption in the society.
He said the state government through the ministry of education gave approval for the establishment of the anti-corruption clubs to selected secondary schools and that it hopes to extend it to all secondary schools across the state in the near future
“The formation of this anti-corruption clubs in our schools has come at the right time since the exercise is aimed at catching them young in the anti-corruption crusade and also of increasing students’ awareness on anti-corruption activities and effects of corruption in the country.
“My advice to all students, teachers, principals and indeed all schools is for you to ensure that these clubs we are inaugurating should not be allowed to go into extinction in our schools, but should rather grow and create the expected impact in our schools and society.”