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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