The Federal Capital Territory (FCTA) will soon unveil a program to reward and acknowledge public servants who are champions and have stood out either in their professional work or office work in the display of honesty and integrity.
The Director, Reform Coordination and Service Improvement, FCTA, Dr Jummai Ahmadu disclosed this on Friday in Abuja at a Radio Town Hall meeting Against Corruption.
Dr. Jumai who was represented in the meeting by Festus Fifen commended a staff of the FCTA, Justina Ogumelen an Integrity Icon awards winner for displaying integrity, commitment and honesty which led to her recognition.
Dr. Jumai said under the rewards program public officials who display integrity will be recognized and rewarded.
Stakeholders during the well attended Town Hall meeting identified
poor remuneration, influence by political leaders and systemic pressure as some of the main reasons integrity in the public service is in short supply.
A retired Director at the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Mr Anthony Ani and Senior (Program) Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Austin Aigbe, were among the diverse audience who spoke at the special radio town hall meeting against corruption organized by Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development, PRIMORG, with the support of MacArthur Foundation in Abuja.
The meeting was also used to celebrate a public servant and the WINNER of 2017 INTEGRITY ICON AWARDS, Mrs Justina Ogumelen, who has displayed discipline, resilience and character against bribery and other forms of corruption in the discharge of her duties over the years.
Ogumelen, who attributed her tenacity to stand against corruption to discipline and prayerfulness, said that her lifestyle attracted enemies, envy and sometimes victimization.
“People will just hate you for no reason, because you stand out to do the right thing. So, for me, it has not really been easy but i keep striving to keep the right flag because doing the right thing is what we all need to make this country work.”
She added that the challenges associated with fighting corruption ranges from undue hatred, staying on one position without promotion orchestrated by your superiors’ and lots more.
Anthony Ani in his submission debunked the perception that civil servants aid politicians in committing corrupt acts, stressing that civil servants are poorly remunerated.
The blame, he said should go to political supervisors appointees who mount pressures on civil servants and flout the rules in the operation of the civil service.
He lamented the poor condition of service faced by civil servants in the country, he said: ”officers are just recruited and there is nothing they give to them. You can imagine an officer of level 8 recruited and he comes in without accommodation and roaming about.
“There is no civil servant, even a director that can rent an accommodation in Wuse, Garki or Maitama. After the government took the policy of selling houses to initial officers, no other step has been taken to ensure that new officers coming in will have accommodation.
“If a director in civil service cannot go home with N400,000 in a month, what kind of thing is that. You know, it is not the amount and when you talk about the perception of civil servant being corrupt, that is a generalization and I am not saying that some civil servants are not corrupt, the point is, when you talk about corruption, let us not tailor it down to only money, when rules are not kept – you have the public service rules and the financial regulation, are they being kept? Even the federal government, do they keep to this rule,” Ani lamented.
On his part, Austin Aigbe, alluded that there are upright individuals in the civil service, however, while stressing that the political and socio-economic environment is a big challenge Nigeria’s fight against corruption in the public service.
His words: “political environment brings corruption. If you are elected the President of Nigeria, the moment you are elected, you own everything and appoint and sack anybody – it is not good for our own interest. Of course as a country, we must stand to deal with some political environment and once we get the political environment solved, it will trickle down to the civil service.
“Looking at the Auditor General Report released recently, if you make an attempt to clean the civil service, you are going to achieve it and we have not achieved the greater challenge which is the political environment,” Aigbe stated.
The PRIMORG’S Radio Town Hall Against Corruption series is supported by the MacArthur Foundation.
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