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YIAGA Africa co-opt students to rid Nigeria of corruption

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Yiaga Africa, a Civil Society Organisation (CSO) has co-opted students in tertiary institutions and youths to join the anti-corruption fight.

According to Yiaga, this is by amplifying their voices on the values of integrity, transparency and accountability.

The Director of Programmes, YIAGA-Africa, Cynthia Mbamalu, said this at the Bounce Corruption National University Debate Competition on Anti-Corruption organised by Yiaga Africa with support from Mac Arthur Foundation in Abuja.

The debate was designed to complement efforts by state and non-state actors in the fight against corruption by promoting zero tolerance for corruption and impunity through effective citizen’s oversight and mobilisation for accountable governance.

The competitors were drawn from universities in the six geo-political zones, Federal University of Technology, Owerri; University of Lagos, University of Benin, Bayero University, Kano, University of Maiduguri, and University of Jos.

Mbamalu said that the need for students to join the anti-corruption fight became imperative because corruption activities were becoming a worry to all and it would take youths’ collective effort to end.

She said that it was estimated that at least 582 billion dollars had been lost from Nigeria since independence due to corruption, while N1.3 trillion of public funds was reportedly laundered between 2011 and 2015 alone.

“It is thus not surprising that Nigeria rank 149th out of 179 countries on the 2020 Corruption Perception Index rankings of the Transparency International.

“A December 2019 report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on the patterns and trends of corruption in Nigeria revealed that young people are most likely to give or receive bribes.

“At least, 60 per cent of them admitted to have given bribes.

“This data when placed side-by-side with the high rate of youth unemployment and underemployment, 42 and 21 per cent respectively in the country has millions of young people finishing their studies with no job prospects.

“It further increases the pressure on them to offer bribes in order to secure jobs.’’

Mbamalu said with this, it became important to engage young Nigerians on how to fight corruption and enshrine integrity, accountability and transparency into the fabric of the society, and in the public and private sectors.

She added that as the group that suffered most from the effects of corruption, young people could be instrumental in the fight against corruption in Nigeria using peer influence to spread values of transparency and accountability.

She said that Yiaga Africa believed in the power of youths and students because they had the vibrancy, innovation and passion to effect change.

“At the end if the system fails, we all are victims of a failed system, so we need as citizens to begin to demand accountability and to ensure the government works for us.

“As young Nigerians especially, we have longer years to live in Nigeria so honestly not being interested in government is at our own peril.

“So we have more duty to come awake to our responsibility as young Nigerians and move with the spirit of solidarity in holding the government to account and in contributing our own quota to national development.’’

Mbamalu said that at the end of the competition, the debate teams would be encouraged to establish and strengthen public integrity clubs in their schools.

Mr Uchenna Igwe, the National Secretary, National Union of Campus Journalists (NUCJ) said that corruption had caused a lot of damage to Nigeria, although government put in place measures of anti-corruption, there was the need for citizens to get involved.

Igwe said that young people should rise to the occasion, and contribute to stemming the tide of the challenges that plagued the nation.

“We owe this as a duty to ourselves, and the children we will have in the years to come.

“If the Foundation of the issues we face today is consequences of the actions and inactions of the older generation, then it leaves little to imagination what would be if we do nothing today.

“I charge us not to be drowned by the illusion of “tomorrow”. Why wait for tomorrow to tackle the issues of today? Problem no dey finish’’.

Igwe urged youths to speak up, shun and condemn corrupt practices, imbibe good values and lead good examples in homes, campuses, hostels, workspaces, religious and social fellowships.

Mr Frankline Ubi, the General Secretary, All Nigeria Universities Debating Championship commended Yiaga Africa for the initiative, adding that debate offered a platform for vigorous interaction and activism.

Ubi said that for youths to prepare for their future roles as leaders, they should show interest in the present by interrogating policies and debate as a viable tool to use.

He said that universities had a role to play as a sector whose primary duty was the generation of knowledge for the development of society.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Bayero University Kano, Federal University of Technology Owerri, University of Lagos and University of Jos were the semi-finalists for the debate competition.

NAN also reports that University of Lagos came first while University of Jos came second.

The first edition of the Bounce Corruption National University Debate was held in 2018, and 23 university teams competed at the zonal and national levels, with the University of Ilorin emerging the winner.

(NAN)

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Akpabio’s Comment On N30bn To Govs Misconstrued – Eyiboh

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Senate President Godswill Akpabio’s statement that Governors recently received N30billion from the federal government to cushion the effects of hardship was misconstrued, his spokesman, Hon Eseme Eyiboh has said.

Governors Seyi Makinde (Oyo) and Umo Eno (Akwa Ibom) denied receiving such amounts.

Eyiboh, in a statement in Abuja, said the Senate President holds Governors in high esteem.

He said Akpabio urged the “sub-national governments not to be distracted by any misunderstanding of the context and true meaning of the statement.”

The statement reads: “The office of the President of the Senate has been drawn to various misconceptions in the public domain on the statement credited to the President of the Senate in plenary of Wednesday, February 21, 2024, during the presentation of a report of the joint Committees on Finance, Agriculture/Food Sufficiency, Banking and Insurance.

“During the session the President of the Senate commented on the payment of an unverified cumulative sum of about N30billion to the sub-national governments by the Federal Government for various interventions to ameliorate the food situation of our citizens at the sub-national governments.

“The unfortunate conjectures to take away the kernel in the material facts of FAAC payment are rather regretted.

“In considering the well-intended motive of urging State Governments to collaborate with the Federal Government of President Bola Tinubu to facilitate strategic interventions to mitigate the prevailing economic situation in the country remains the underpinning motivation in the comment.

“The President of the Senate is not oblivious to the fact that State governments are functional partners in all the efforts of the current administration of President Bola Tinubu and are also valuable stakeholders in the various legislative engagements of the legislature in creating the nexus between the legislature and the people.

“The President of the Senate has always demonstrated commitment to team building and shall not do less in the circumstance.

“He therefore urges the sub-national governments not to be distracted by any misunderstanding of the context and true meaning of the statement.

“The President of the Senate recognizes and appreciates the current efforts of the governors at ameliorating the adverse effects of the current inclement socio-economic environment and therefore invites more hands on the plow to complement the renewed hope agenda.”

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Hardship: Afenifere Begs Yoruba Race Not To Join Protest Against Tinubu

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The leader of the Pan Yoruba sociopolitical group, Afenifere, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, has appealed to Nigerians, especially from the South West states, against the planned nationwide protest against President Bola Tinubu-led federal government amid the hardship Nigerians are currently experiencing.

Fasoranti who made this appeal, in a statement personally signed by him, lamented over the current economic crisis in the country, describing it as unfortunate, and urging Nigerians to endure the hardship for tomorrow’s prosperity.

The Afenifere leader said, “As the National Leader of Afenifere, and leader of the Yoruba, I address all and sundry today with a deep understanding of the challenges our dear country is going through at this critical time. The outcry over the hardship, hunger, and price hikes is not unexpected.

“However, we must come to terms with the realities of our national challenges, which the present administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is striving to resolve.

“While acknowledging the hardships faced by our people, it is important to recognize that these economic measures, although difficult, are part of a larger strategy aimed at restoring economic prosperity and stability to Nigeria.

“The government’s commitment to implementing these measures is a testament to its dedication to addressing the root causes of our economic challenges, inherited from the ills of the previous years”

He said “As a responsible leader, I appeal to every Yoruba man and woman, young and old, and our fellow citizens across the nationalities, to exercise patience and refrain from engaging in protests or actions that may escalate tensions.

“Understandably, the immediate impact of Tinubu’s economic reforms is challenging to everyone, but it is crucial to give the government the necessary time to realize the intended benefits”

Attributing the current economic hardship to the removal of fuel subsidy and has done great damage to the nation’s economy, saying “It is important to note that the removal of fuel subsidies and the floating of the Naira is not undertaken lightly, as we all know the great damage done to our national prosperity through the nefarious activities of the agents of darkness within the oil and financial sectors.

“These measures by the Federal Government, though painful in the short term, are designed to create a more sustainable economic environment that will benefit us all in the long run. It requires collective understanding and resilience from every citizen as we navigate through these challenging times.

“We cannot afford a preference for the euthanasic approach of painless death of our nation, where we are propped up with loans and subsidies until a total collapse into a failed nation, while we have the opportunity of painful healing through treatment with multiple surgeries that will guarantee not just our survival, but restored health, vigor, and thriving life. We must endure today’s hardship for tomorrow’s prosperity”

He, however, appealed to Nigerians to give Tinubu more time and engage in constructive criticism that can contribute towards the development of the country.

“I implore you to trust in the government’s commitment to the welfare of our nation. Let us engage in constructive dialogue and contribute positively to the ongoing economic reforms.

“Join me in appealing for unity and understanding among our people. Together, we can weather this storm and emerge stronger as a nation.

“I want to assure you as the Leader of Afenifere, that we are actively engaging with the government at different levels to address the concerns of our people. Let us remain steadfast, patient, and united in the face of these challenges, confident that our collective resilience will pave the way for a more prosperous future”
Recall that last Thursday, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, the president-general of Ohanaeze, similarly appealed to the Igbo groups not to protest against the administration of President Bola Tinubu.

The Ohanaeze in a communique issued after an emergency meeting asked the people of the southeast to “invoke the indomitable Igbo spirit of brotherliness and hard work” during the period of economic hardship.

The group urged south-east governors and traditional rulers to take “advantage of the upcoming farming season to catalyze massive agricultural production for sustainable food security” in the zone.

Ohanaeze added that since the apex court in the country has ruled on the 2023 presidential election, the group has decided to support the administration of Tinubu.

“We reviewed with intense passion, the level of unemployment, poverty, hardships, especially the rising cost of goods and services in Nigeria, the rate of depreciation of Nigerian currency, and the excruciating effect on the masses; and reminded Ndigbo that they should quickly readjust themselves to the reality of the times and that the Igbo have passed through the worst of conditions in the past,” the communique reads.

“There is no better time than now to invoke the indomitable Igbo spirit of brotherliness, hard work, ingenuity, wisdom, resilience, inventiveness, perseverance, and capacity to turn adversities into diverse opportunities

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FG To Implement Oronsaye Report

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..To Scrap Many Agencies, Merge Others

In a landmark decision, President Bola Tinubu has approved the implementation of the age-long Oronsanye report.

This is one of the decisions taken at this Monday’s meeting of the federal executive council, at the state house.

The report submitted by the Oronsanye committee under the Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in 2012 has endured successive administrations without implementation.

By Implication, some federal agencies would either be scrapped, merged or relocated.

A committee to be headed by the Secretary to the Government of the federation is to work out the modalities for implementation.

 

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