Corruption reporting website takes off in Nigeria

The project hopes to crowd-source enough information to track down the spirit of corruption in Nigeria.

Egunjedotinfo, a website dedicated to crowd-sourcing trends in bribery and corruption in Nigeria, has been launched.

The website was launched in Abuja on Tuesday by the Integrity Organization Nigeria, an anti corruption, research and advocacy organization founded in 1995.

The project aims to track, name and shame corrupt individuals and organizations in Nigeria. The event was preceded by a social media campaign, “the spirit of Egunje” and rewarded its engaged audience with cash gifts.

As part of providing platform for engagement on corruption in Nigeria, the organization set up Integrity clubs in seven states across Nigeria.

At the launch, leaders of the seven Integrity clubs in Nigeria, represented by two, took the audience on the journey of the successes and ills experienced in their fight against corruption.

Pat Ezenwa, the Integrity club representative from Anambra state, gave instances of the level of corruption in the state.

He said most police officers lobby to be posted to his state because of the “cancerous egunje spirit” among police officers in the state. Police officers in the state routinely intimidate residents openly, extorting money from them in the process. The police, he said, have carried out the act for so long that residents now think police intimidation and extortion is part of living.

“Nigerians’ think bribe is a normal thing,” an embittered Mr. Ezenwa said. “We can see Nigeria is going down with this, we hope people wake up.”

Inspiration

The inspiration to start the “Spirit of Egunje” was drawn from social media activities of young adults in Nigeria, Soji Apampa, the founder said.

“We see a new kind of thing happening in our country,” he said.

Japhet Omojuwa, a blogger, aided the formation of the project. He described corruption as Nigeria’s 37th federating state.

Corruption stories

The President of the Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA), Boma Ozobia, said egunje is “a spirit impacting negatively upon our lives.”

Mrs. Ozobia, the first female president of the association, narrated how her brother died of Asthma attack five hours after arriving at a hospital due to corruption.

She said corruption hindered the hospital from receiving adequate medical resources and applying same to save her brother’s life.

“The government’s inability to provide proper health care has robbed us of family, friends and productive people in our society,” she said. “There is a feeling of helplessness in our society.”

Ordinary Ahmed, a radio host and founder of Brekete Family, an Abuja based social welfare organization, energized the audience with his humorous, but truth laden words.

“We are better than America, when it comes to natural resources, but we have terrible leaders,” he said.

He said corruption had its global headquarters in Nigeria.

Mr. Ahmed narrated the plight of a female patient whose surgeon committed a medical error by carrying out a surgical Fibroid operation on the patient without stitching the cut properly. Rather than apologize and fix the mess he created, the doctor turned around to victimize her.

“When the woman drinks water, it leaks from the suture. When she eats beans, it leaks from the cut,” he narrated.

But when the victim accosted the doctor, he unbelievably sought to extort the patient.

The doctor “demanded more money to correct the procedure, not considering the patient who was still nursing her intestines bulging outside abdomen, a very fatal state for any human being,” he said.

Ordinary Ahmed took up the case, seeking justice for the victim and sanctions for the doctor, but the authorities turned deaf ears.

“We have to take Nigeria to the next level, promise me that even when I die, you will not allow the spirit of the new Nigeria to die,” he demanded.

www.egunje.info

The website uses a Google map to collate input from the crowd and display where each corruption case was reported.

It provides a platform to name and shame or name and praise the activities of those either in government or private organisations. The name of the official who requested for a bribe can be input, stating why, where, when and how the event occurred and the amount paid or demanded.

The representation on the side of the map gives statistics on the top six locations where bribery takes place.

The project hopes to crowd-source enough information to track down the spirit of corruption in Nigeria.

Reported stories will be played back in a weekly radio show, the organizers said.

Spirit of Egunje competition

There were several levels of competition, split into four categories: story, poetry, schools and twitter handle. In the story category, Aimiosior Gregory took the first position, with Okpako Genesis as second and Oladele Okikiola as third.

The poetry category had Ololade Olatunji in first position, closely followed by Osowe Oluwagbenga Omolayo as second and Bamidele Adeneye as third.

The prizes for the two categories were a blackberry playbook, 500megabyte hard disk, and a wireless keyboard/ mouse respectively.

In the schools category, International Community School represented by Omayeli, Tobi and Chioma were in first position while Regina Pacis College, represented by Mesoma, Anita and Chiderah came second.

Loyola Jesuit, whose students gave an excellent presentation, had to be placed third as a result of late entry. They were represented by Aidevo, Etitoghene and Chukwuemeka. The schools received plaques and each representative received a prize.


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  • save naija

    Wonderful initiative, I’m going to bookmark d website..

  • Lanre

    I object to the use of a Yoruba word “Egunje” to describe an anti-corruption drive in a country with over 250 languages. When an Igbo man, Maj Kaduna Nzeowgu announced his coup of Jan. 15, 1966 he mentioned the “10 percenters in our midst” as the harbingers of corruption. This website is another cannon-fodder for the Yoruba haters in our midst led by the Achebe’s to reinforce a stereotype about Yorubas. I reject it and earnestly pray for the day there will be a dissolution of Nigeria so everyone can bear their father’s name. I don’t want to be in the same country with bigots.

    p.s. I know the little kids behind this otherwise laudable program will blow this observation away. This is not some theatre, drama play in school. There is everything to a name. Please remove that Yoruba connotation from your idea (project)

    • iretiidajo

      Lanre, I see your point. Your point about incurable bigots, and jingoists like Chinua Achebe is well made and correct. The point about Achebe is that I wonder why people still take him serious as an academic “scholar” or “thinker”. Somebody the other time called him a “teacher”. I said teacher? I am sure many people do not know the noble role of the teacher-whether primary, grammar school or university. Achebe is a writer. And that is where it stops. But definitely not a teacher or scholar if we use the basic and standard canons of academic scholarship as assessment. Just yesterday, my attention was called to the Sahara Reporters interview which Odia Ofeimum gave on Achebe’s book. I listened to the Sahara Reporters Interview with Odia Ofeimum on Achebe’s book. From this interview I discovered that Odia, Niyi Osundare and this fellow called Achebe worked together as officials on a writers’ group. I never knew. From that Interview(please watch it if you have not watched it. It is on Sahara Reporters site, it is also on what you people call Youtube), I got clues on Achebe that I never knew before. I do not think Achebe is capable of truth telling when it comes to Nigerian issues. It is not possible. The other time some of us hailed him when he rejected national honor Nigeria bestowed on him. But we did not know that he rejected the honor from purely tribalist standpoint-nothing moral or patriotic about his rejection. he has a right to his rejection. I am just talking about what we (at least I) wrongly thought to be his reason for the rejection. I mean this is an ingrained Nigerian hater we did not know. -at least that I did not know. Achebe suffers from a psychological damage. Hatred lurks in his subconscious like poison. Such consciousness is sad and sickly. Unfortunately, at his old age, he can no longer be cured. Just listening to the interview and the unprogrammed and instinctive clues you could get about Achebe from those who worked with him professionally on organizations make me feel more sorry for Achebe. I actually came to the conclusion that the responses to his so-called book may paradoxically be misplaced. Our responses show that we mistakenly took Achebe seriously. And we should not have taken him that seriously. Nothing intellectual about his writings, so he does not deserve that kind of attention. At least I should not have. Chinua Achebe does not deserve to be taken seriously when it comes to ISSUES NIGERIA. Achebe’s views should be separated from the views of the average Nigerians who are of Igbo extractions who are on the streets , homes , offices, markets of Lagos, Ibadan, Kano, Kaduna, Enugu, Jos, PortHarcourt, Benin etc making their lives and all of those young Nigerians from different cultural extractions trying to make Nigeria work. To be honest with you, if had I listened to that Odia Ofeimum interview on Achebe’s book before the formal presentation of the so-called Achebe book, I will never say a word about the book. I will say people who worked with him know him. I do not so I do not need to bother myself with whatever he says. Let me tell you a joke about the book. A old and retired colleague of mine who was a lecturer said this about the book “ah why are you wasting your time on Achebe and his book, Achebe has just plagiarized himself’!!! In other words, what Achebe said about Awolowo and Nigeria is not new. Achebe “forgot” that he had written about it and said the same thing, so he unconsciously “stole” his own ideas!!! It is a humor I could not help filing for posterity-a reporter plagiarizing himself!!! Even at Awolowo’s death, this character called Achebe burnt all human decency. People like Achebe are clogs to African progress and Nigerian progress. The same basic human decency and conduct was shattered by his tribalist acolytes and praise singers when Soyinka won the Nobel Prize. This is because their incurable hatred and lowliness of thought of he and and his pathological tribalist praise singers must have made them to take Soyinka as Yoruba and therefore a scion of their arch enemy. Thus Soyinka does not deserve what their god deserves!!!. At least these characters shamelessly put such hatred and poison in print. They must hate Yoruba. That is how deadly but uncouth these things get. Paradoxically, I as a person even in my old age never thought about these things these way. I never looked at these things these ways when we were growing up and up till this fellow published this book. And fortunately (That is part of the revealing things in the so-called book) Achebe gave a frame to that deadly tribalist feeling when he said Awolowo killed the Igbos for Yorubas to rise, and in all his “rivalry talks” and “rivalry frame”. Unfortunately, as a Yoruba person, until I saw what Achebe felt and said in print I never knew there was a rivalry with any national group in Nigeria. I never thought or felt Yorubas my own national group was and is in competition with any group. I had taught Achebe and other Nigerian writers to my kids and grandchildren. In other words I never felt any sense of rivalry towards any group and yet I was teaching an inveterate tribalist, an inveterate Nigerian deadly hater, a Yoruba hater-that borders on psychological break to my own children and grandchildren. This our Yoruba attitude and action may be the Yoruba “naivette”, the Yoruba sense of inclusion, the Yoruba cosmopolitanism that simply tells “the other” the so-called “foreigner” -káàbọ̀, jókòó”-(welcome sit down and you are given a space to live your life as “ọmọluwabi”-the civil and civilised one) which unfortunately in the Nigerian context now may actually be naive, it may be the Yoruba “ojú ọ̀run tó ẹyẹ láti fò”- meaning the sky is wide enough for billions of birds to fly-in other words “let a thousand flower blossom”. But that is not a problem. We now know better. As Odia said in that interview , the complete lies, poison and hatred Achebe exhibited to Nigeria, and other national groups in Nigeria will make anyone think twice at any suggestion or statement made by him-Achebe- or any one who uses his frame. This is not saying all persons of Achebe’s tribe think like Achebe. No it is not true. But what Odia said is worse than the way he put it. I think Odia ofeimum was only being decent, kind and civil in his conduct, pronouncement and language. You can only relate to Achebe and people who believe in him with a trillion kilometers long pole. It was not like this before. But unfortunately, Achebe opened everyone’s eyes.

      Having said all these, I disagree with you Lanre with due respect that the name of the organization should change just because of a bigot like Achebe. Achebe does not count. And I am using these words deliberately because he simply does not have the idea to help Africans in the 21st century. So I do not think the name of the anti-corruption site should change. The meaning of that word is available in every human language. If Nigerians came together and chose a name for a decent, patriotic and nationalistic organization to fight corruption from one of African languages like Yoruba, what is wrong with that? It may actually mean that these young Nigerians are ready to put ethnic sentiments behind them and subvert a jingoist and extremely backward and regressive Achebe frame. So, Lanre with due respect to you, I think that name should stay. Some if us are have grown old. We do not move around too much these days. But whenever I have the chance I will always make this clarification.

      With love, kindness and grace of God to you and these kids who are trying everyday to make Nigeria work. I support them strongly from the bottom of my heart. I feel proud of them. They make me feel nostalgic of our younger days when we did not care whether you were Emeka, kehinde, ikot, Mohammed, Iyare, Esuene etc, we did not care where you came from, what was important was our dear nation Nigeria. We should support them. God in his infinite mercy will bless them and their good works for Nigeria. “Ẹ káre ẹ̀yin ọmọ Naijiria rere.”-“Good job, well done good Nigerian children. May my Lord Bless you and your families abundantly. I am proud of you. Lanre let us support them as you have rightly done.

  • Lanre

    And If I might also suggest a name for the site – tenpercenters.com. Thank you.

  • magdalene

    This is a very good idea, because a lot of Nigerians are not aware of the benfits they are suppose to enjoy freely from the government due to the massive corruption going on. If may suggest; the use of language names attributed to this group should be reconsidered since all Nigerians will be involve in this campaign. English language should be used in order to avoid confussion in the future

  • magdalene

    This is a very good idea, because a lot of Nigerians are not aware of the benfits they are suppose to enjoy freely from the government due to the massive corruption going on. If may suggest; the use of language names attributed to this group should be reconsidered since all Nigerians will be involve in this campaign. English language should be used in order to avoid confussion in the future

  • Malah

    It is a very laudable effort aimed at curbing corruption out of Nigeria and I commend the brains behind this website for a job well done but like Lanre and Magdalene I don’t see the need for a yoruba name for the website…and I urge the pioneers of this project to rename it to a name in English preferably.