The entrenched corruption in Nigeria continues to be a major challenge to state growth and development. As the practice continues, some are brought to the public domain while some go unreported. The state has made efforts to empower the anti-graft agencies to work effectively in addressing the abysmal practice, however, for effective and sustainable results, anti-corruption fight requires initiatives that are encompassing with citizens driving the process.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) government led by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian President having recognized the perilous effect of corruption focuses on anti-corruption fight as its cardinal agenda. This spurs the citizens hope to join the anti-graft fight.
Using mobile devices, the new media (social media) is changing communication and increasingly becoming a dominant platform for accessing information. This, however, has expanded citizens participation in the anti-graft fight with citizen journalism at the centre of the process.
It creates a platform for citizens to report corrupt practices happening in their communities directly to the anti-graft agencies.
The #VoicesAgainstCorruption project supported by Trust Africa and CLEEN Foundation provides an inter-agency platform that utilizes new media and ICT technology to fight corruption by reporting corrupt practices to the anti-graft agencies using their phone devices. The platform comprises the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nigeria Police Force, Federal Road Safety Corps and the citizens.
To raise citizens’ awareness of the initiative, CLEEN Foundation organized a public launch and sensitization workshop on the 23rd January and 27th March 2018 at Abuja and Lagos respectively. Participants at the events were drawn from Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC); the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC); Local Government Councils, National Human Rights Commission; Ministry of Justice; CSOs, citizens, and the Media.
At the launch, citizens were educated on how they can utilize the #VoicesAgainstCorruption platform to fight corruption. The platform seeks to build a strong synergy among citizens, anti-corruption agencies and the civil society groups in the anti-corruption fight.
The anti-graft agencies who are key partners in the project welcome the initiative, and are providing technical support. They equally see it as complementing the state efforts in addressing corrupt practices.
In their support to the project, the Federal Road Safety Corps participates in the steering committee meeting and online tweet meet. The online tweet meet is to increase citizens awareness and participation.
The initiative is already mobilizing communities to utilize new media technology to combat corruption. For instance, in Lagos state, the Agege Local Government Area at their monthly Community Accountability Forum (CAF) meeting on Saturday, 14 April 2018 invited CLEEN project team to teach community members on how to use the #VoicesAgainstCorruption platform to report corrupt practices in their community.
Ebere Mbaegbu, CLEEN Foundation