BENIN CITY, NIGERIA. September 2, 2019… The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ has concluded its inaugural mentorship and training of eleven young anti-corruption activists and champions in the Niger Delta, at the ANEEJ Centre for Corruption Studies.
In his closing remarks during their graduation, the ANEEJ Acting Executive Director, Mr. Leo Atakpu said the organisation is glad to have mentored young anti-corruption champions in the Niger Delta who now have broad knowledge about corruption and ways to prevent its causes and impact on society. He said the young trainees have demonstrated the zeal to be more involved in the fight against corruption and are happy to enforce their new roles and expectations at individual and organisational levels. To him, targeting young anti-corruption champions is a new approach of imbibing acceptable norms and shared values in young people in the society, who are mostly affected by the impact of corruption.
Shortly after the closing ceremony, the young activists took turns to speak to journalists about the lessons learnt during the training and their new experiences as anti-corruption champions and agents of social change. The young participants from Edo, Delta, Rivers and Bayelsa states, were able to demonstrate their understanding of the enablers of corruption; the implication of grand and petty corruption to Nigeria’s economy and citizens wellbeing; how corruption can affect the fundamental rights of citizens; the need for an efficient justice system that will not only prosecute offenders, but ensure justice for victims of corruption; as well as the critical role of the various anti-corruption agencies in eliminating corruption in Nigeria.
“For ANEEJ, the training is coming at a time when the Niger Delta is yet to harness the massive economic and human potentials endowed in the region to ameliorate the plight of victims whose sources of livelihood have been cut off, due to years of oil exploration and corruption. A component of the training is the importance of the OGP as a tool for transparency, accountability and openness in government. The young anti-corruption champions were taught to use their capacity to call on the various states in the Niger Delta who are yet to sign on to the OGP to do so, as a way of promoting good governance in the region.” Atakpu said.
Atakpu, emphasised that the recent shock of about 77 Nigerian youths listed in a fraudulent network in the US is a justification of the aim of the programme seeking to ‘catch them young’ – a call for young anti-corruption champions to rise and say no to crime and corruption.
He added that ANEEJ will scale up the training to include young people from other parts of the country in subsequent programme adding that ANEEJ will use the platform to raise young activists who in turn will liberate society from the scourge of corruption in the public, private sector and our immediate environment. The weeklong training was with the support of Bread for the World Germany and UKAID
Some of the core topics covered by the young anti-corruption champions include: ideological concepts of governance and how it affects corruption; understanding the political, economic and environmental context of corruption; institutional definitions of corruption and how they apply to the Nigerian context; asset declaration and anti-corruption; what constitutes corruption in Nigeria; ways of measuring corruption; the anti-corruption indexes, conventions and protocols – institutional arrangements for corruption prevention.
Participants were also taught understanding the social norms and behaviours that enhances or mitigate corruption, the need to explore alternative approaches to anti-corruption; and using social media tools to undertake anti-corruption campaigns. The seasoned anti-corruption experts both from the academic and developmental background, with proven years of experience in anti-corruption studies, were able to capture the mind of the trainees who are from academic, religious, trade Union and developmental background.
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