Transparency International is planning to return to Nigeria.
Global integrity organisation, Transparency international (TI), in a just-concluded strategy meeting, huddled with about a dozen local integrity organisations in Abuja all burdened by what they describe as “the systemic and endemic state of Nigeria’s corruption.” Their mission today, however, is more focussed: they are mapping the return of TI to Nigeria, after about a decade of absence.
The meeting, according to its facilitator, Hernan Charosky, was organized to “discuss the re-engagement of Transparency International in Nigeria, and explore what partnership opportunities were open with the broad integrity network in the country.”
Mr. Charosky who is former Executive Director of TI in Argentina, along with Marie-Ange Kalenga, who is West Africa’s officer for TI, explained that the organisation desires to understand what specific roles the Nigerian integrity movement expects Transparency International to play.
The discussions were energized the first day when Jibrin Ibrahim of the Center for Democracy and Development made his submission, arguing that the administration of the justice system had to be fixed as a matter of urgent priority for public corruption to be curbed.
He examined the examples of impunity and the light sentences granted by courts to show that the administration of justice system tends to favour those who steal big. It was observed that those who steal above 1million naira tend not in the main to escape severe punishment, than those who steal less.
Lilian Ekeanyanwu of Technical Unit on Governance & Anti-Corruption Reforms (TUGAR) emphasized the need to build integrity in our public institutions by strengthening the systems and ensuring better prevention of corruption. In the very animated discussion that ensued, participants discussed how to put even their grandmothers in the villages in a position to express their outrage over the magnitude of corruption and the let-off permitted by Nigeria’s administration of justice system.
On the second day, Soji Apampa, Executive Director of Integrity Nigeria flagged off the brainstorming session by addressing the question, “What will success look like: expected outcomes”. Mr. Apampa noted that the rate of growth of corruption was much faster than the rate of growth of the movement to curb it and that except a step change was introduced into the strategy of the movement to meet the challenge of corruption in Nigeria head-on by 2015, there would be dire consequences for Nigerians in general.
He traced trends in the political, social, economic, technological, legal and energy environment of Nigeria drawing out their implications for the anti-corruption movement in Nigeria. In particular, Mr. Apampa noted that given the trends the size, pace, strategy and risks for fighting corruption would have to shift more onto the shoulders of non-State actors, adding that international legal instruments and jurisdictions will become all the more important to the fight against corruption.
Youth and the terrain of technology will be the context of the next battle around corruption, Soji Apampa said.
“Those who want to keep corruption going will recruit the youth and those who want to stop corruption will have to recruit the youth also. Those who want to subvert the course of justice and thwart the movement for transparency will turn to technology and the same goes for those who want to stop corruption as well – telephony, social and other electronic media used more than others” he stated.