Notable civil right groups in Nigeria have launched a new anti-corruption campaign with the hope of reaching the elite and locals through an intensive media outreach programme.
The groups, Human and Environmental Development Agenda, HEDA, and Journalists for Democratic Rights, JODER, renewed the vigorous campaign early this week when Information, Education and Communication materials, IEC, were distributed across the 36 states of the federation using the print media.
In a statement on Wednesday, HEDA Executive Director, Olanrewaju Suraj and JODER official, Adewale Adeoye, said the programme was aimed at deepening democracy and discouraging corruption and other social ills that hinder the livelihood of millions of vulnerable Nigerians.
“Corruption is like a cancer. The earlier it is removed the better. Corruption is linked to poverty, violent crimes and extremism which are major threats to individuals no matter the social or economic status. We are glad about the understanding of the media that we need to work together to bring an end to the scourge”, the groups said in the statement.
Under the initiative supported by TRUSTAFRICA, 100,000 pamphlets were distributed across the country through the mainstream media. The newspapers selected were The Guardian and Vanguard on Saturday and the Sunday editions of Vanguard, The Nation, Leadership, Daily Trust, Daily Independent. The groups praised the private print media for their long standing support for democracy and justice in Nigeria. In the new initiative, 15,000 fliers, in each of the newspaper, covering between twenty to thirty five percent of the entire newspaper print run were insertions promoting good governance and democracy in the selected newspapers for effective outreach to Nigerians across all ethnic, religious and social strata in the country’s geo-political zones.
HEDA and JODER noted in the fliers that fighting corruption is the obligation of men and women, herdsmen of the plain fields, fishermen on the high seas, farmers on the hills and the valleys, teachers, students and children. Everyone’s future is tied in one way or the other to how we deal with the scourge of corruption.
“It is in your own interest. It is in the interest of our children and generations unborn. This is the only way Nigeria can be saved from ridicule and contempt by the international community. It is the best way to safe desperate women and children dying in hundreds on the high seas and being exploited, raped, dehumanised and famished in what has now become the new slave trade.”
It added that “for sustainable livelihood, corruption must be tackled headlong. This serves as a clarions call to all democratic institutions, the courts, the law enforcement agencies, the judiciary and the mass of the people to see corruption as an unnecessary evil that must be fought.”
The groups said in recent months, fresh vistas have been opened that must be explored to the brim. The special-corruption courts is a welcome development that must be nurtured and promoted. It is a strategic and worthy intervention to ensure cases of corruption draw the full attention of law and spur speedy trials. It is a demonstration of commitment to fight corruption in a unique way.