To honour the World Anticorruption Day, the conveners of Say No Campaign led an anticorruption walk, on the 9th of December 2019, with other civil society groups, community members from the different area councils and youths, including related government institutions, in the city of Abuja. Members convened at the Nigerian Labour Congress building to address the press on the significance of the day, the human cost of corruption; need for all categories of the citizens to unite and tackle corruption; the mandate for government to fight corruption in other to achieve development, peace and security and the place of citizens to exert the necessary pressure that can prod responsible and effective governance. The procession which started at 9:30am through the streets of Abuja terminated at 12:00 noon at the federal secretariat with an admonition to citizens to entrench transparency and accountability in personal dealings in other to drive it in government institutions.
Ezenwa Nwagwu, the co-convener of the Say No campaign, while addressing the media, emphasized that the government is not doing the country a favour by restating its intentions to fight corruption, rather it is the constitutional responsibility of the Nigerian government to fight corruption and when the government is not fighting corruption, then it is subverting the constitution, thus, it is citizens’ responsibility to call the government out on corruption. He enjoined the media to remain resolute and focused on anti-corruption; not to be intimidated by the proposed social media law attempting to criminalise free speech as hate speech; further shrinking the civic space.
Jaye Gaskia, also a co-convener of Say No Campaign, warned that citizens can enable corruption by remaining silent in the face of corrupt practices such as diversion of funds, abandoned projects, or abuse of fundamental human rights. Hence, he urged community members, youths and all present to speak up in the face of corruption and against injustice.
The Chairman, House Committee on Anticorruption, Honorable Shehu Garba urged Nigerians to leverage on the Freedom of Information Act, Whistle-blowing policy and the Open Government Imitative (OGP). According to him, Nigerians can use these policies and laws as powerful tools to advocate for good governance and demand accountability especially with the aid of social media.
“I want to commend the Coalition of Civil Society for taking it upon them to sensitize Nigerians to the importance of Dec. 9 set aside by UN to highlight devastating impact of corruption. Corruption deprives the citizens of the resources that should be used to improve on our socio economic wellbeing; we have bad roads, poor schools, we cannot really overemphasis the devastating impact of corruption. We should do whatever we can as citizens, as civil society organizations to highlight the impact of corruption in all spheres of our society, because it thrives everywhere, so the war has to be total.’’
In the same vein, the director of documentation and publication, Davidson Aminu from the National Orientation Agency enjoined Nigerians to join forces to fight corruption. Collaborating civil society groups present like the African Centre for Media Literacy -AFRICMIL through its Executive Director, Chido Onumah and Social Action’s representative, Vivian Bello, also urged the judiciary to not compromise on corruption cases but help in convicting criminals to serve as deterrent to others
Participants marched around the streets of Abuja Central Business District brandishing various anticorruption messages on placards as they chant “we stand united against corruption and corruption must vacate from Nigeria”.
Nigerians identified with the global movement against corruption as they marched in the street of Abuja the Federal Capital Territory, admonishing government and citizens to play their roles in ensuring that corruption is eliminated from the country. Government institutions, including the legislative committee on anti-corruption, civil society groups, youths, and community members, led by the Say No campaign coalition presented a united front as they speak on the benefits to be accrued from a successful anti-corruption fight for all.