Displeased by the diminishing integrity in Nigeria’s public sector, celebrated 2019 integrity icon, Tani Ali Nimlan has revealed that the best way the government can boost integrity among public servants is by implementing all the policies put in place to guide them on the path of integrity.
Nimlan who is an Assistant Director at National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, made the assertion during a special radio town hall meeting against corruption, organized by Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development, PRIMORG, with the support of MacArthur Foundation Friday in Abuja.
She stressed that the government has enough laws and policies that can encourage integrity in civil service if implemented. She added that it is high time government led by example in instilling integrity in the public sector.
According to Nimlan, apart from the fear of God, core values, respect for humanity, and discipline were her biggest motivation in being a person of integrity.
Similarly, a Legal Practitioner, Nelson Kebordih disclosed that Nigeria as a country and the public sector have enough laws to fight corruption in the workplace but are inhibited and challenged with applicability and enforcement of already existing laws.
Kebordih noted that access to information in government offices remains a big challenge, stressing that Nigeria does not need more laws to fight systemic corruption but the willingness of people to abide by laws and the willingness of the government to enforce them.
“I will tell you that even now, with the Freedom of Information Act that is available, you make some requests to these public agencies, it is difficult to assess information, especially when the one that is involved has an interest in what you are investigating.”
On her part, Grant and Compliance Officer at Integrity Nigeria, Kyura Wakkias said corruption in the public service can only be possible with private individuals colluding with government officials.
She said the major reason why integrity is dying in the public sector was that corruption has become a culture among public servants. Wakkais, however, called for more public servants who show integrity to be celebrated to encourage others.
Senior Program Officer at Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Jasper Ukachukwu averred that there should be encouragement and incentive for public servants who are standing upright while commending the efforts PRIMORG in organizing such an event.
He noted that filling Nigeria’s public service with people of integrity will boost Nigeria’s reputation and influence across Africa.
“Integrity can be greatly improved among public servants if their welfare packages and salaries are prioritized by the government and people of integrity should be celebrated and rewarded to encourage others,” Ukachukwu stated.
On his part, representative of Accountability Lab Nigeria, Prince Chimaraoke Chukwuka said the leadership of the country has the bulk of responsibility in encouraging integrity and fighting corruption.
He also disclosed that Mrs. Abiola Momoh, who works as a nurse at a Local Government Secretariat in Kogi State won the 2020 Integrity Icon Awards.
The PRIMORG’s Radio Town Hall Meeting Against Corruption series is aimed at calling the public and government attention to specific issues of corruption in Nigeria.