CLEEN Foundation Held Town-Hall Meeting in Benue State Towards Fostering Citizens’ Support for the War against Corruption in Nigeria

The CLEEN Foundation (formerly known as Centre for Law Enforcement Education) is a non-governmental organization established in January 1998 with the mission of promoting public safety, security and accessible justice through the strategies of empirical research, legislative advocacy, demonstration programmes and publications, in partnership with government, civil society and the private sector.

In continuation of our activities on the Accountable Governance, Justice and Security Project, the CLEEN Foundation organized a one-day town hall meeting in Benue State towards fostering citizens’ support for the war against corruption in Nigeria. The meeting held on Thursday 6th of October, 2016 at Hallydays Hotel & Resorts, 16 Daniel Shinyi Street, Makurdi, Benue State.

The meeting brought stakeholders together and featured: discussions on the role of citizens in the fight against corruption; evaluation of institutional efforts in combating corruption and strategic approaches to fighting corruption in Nigeria through community perspectives. Leading Anti graft agencies in Nigeria were also represented thus: The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC); the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC). Other discussants at the events were drawn from: National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA); the Nigeria Bar Association and BudgIT. The media, CSOs and representatives of relevant government agencies were also present at the meetings. Participants’ estimates in the two states indicate 51 participants attended the meetings in Benue states. Drawing from the observations and contributions made by the discussants and the participants; the meeting highlighted the following:

CLEEN Benue• Participants committed themselves to start tracking the implementation of the budgets of all the three tiers of government in the states, especially in the area of capital project with a view to fostering transparency and accountability in governance.
• The anti-graft agencies must be given the required support with respect to: funding, autonomy and amendment of the enabling laws guiding their operations.
• Participants charged the anti-graft agencies to narrow the gap between the number of arrests and prosecution cum convictions. This becomes apposite as citizens are often inundated with news about arrest, whereas paucity of information exists on prosecution and convictions.
• The anti-corruption messages should be taken to the schools. This is also with a view to promote value re-orientation among the youths.
• The anti-graft agencies should embrace the culture of updating their websites with statistics of upcoming cases in court as well as the status of the case on a monthly basis.
• Allegations concerning corruption, whether in political parties, public or private organisations must be treated with the deserved seriousness. This calls for amendment of the relevant laws combating corruption.
• Persons convicted of corruption of any form should be disqualified from holding public office or participating in politics.
• Specifically in Benue state, participants crave the support of anti-graft agencies and the federal government on behalf of Benue state government to effectively prosecute the war against corruption in the state especially regarding the arrest and prosecution of corrupt individuals associated with the previous administrations.
• States and Local government Authorities must start publishing their budgets.
• The media, Ministry of Justice and CSOs must create more awareness on FOI Act
• The anti-graft agencies were committed to share statistics of arraignment with the citizens
• CSOs were sensitized on their roles in the war against corruption and they were committed to partner with the anti-graft agencies.
• Anti-graft agencies and CSOs had an opportunity to share with participants, projects they have carried out that contributes to the fight against corruption.
• Participants were exposed to technologies and tools to report corruption in public administration using the tracking tools developed by BudgIT
• In Benue States, CSOs committed themselves to start writing FOI request to access government held information.
• In Benue State a civil society organization (First Step Action) committed themselves to start monitoring the state and local government Authorities’ budget for fiscal transparency.
As we proceed on our Access Nigeria project, we pledge our commitment to keep supporting the work of ICPC, EFCC and allied institutions who are working to promote accountable governance and transparent public administration in Nigeria. For further inquiry about this report and future collaborations or engagement, please contact us via email: cleen@cleen.org, oluwole.ojewale@cleen.org
Yours Sincerely
Benson Olugbuo
Executive Director

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