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Ene Obi, Country Director of ActionAid on Thursday tasked politicians and relevant government authorities in the country to fix public schools and make it competitive in order to check the trend of Nigerians travelling abroad to acquire quality education.
She made the call during a two-day stakeholders’ dialogue organised by the Non-Governmental Organisation in collaboration with Policy Alert under the SCRAP-C Project in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
Obi said it was high time the common people in the country started to actively engage in the fight against corruption by making government officials accountable.
“When I attended public schools, many of the leaders also attended public schools but today they take their children to study outside the country with the money they have looted because we know the child of whom they were,” Obi said.
“Because of corruption, those students would go and study abroad and still come back to the country and start struggling with the few jobs.”
She said corruption has far-reaching effects than HIV/AIDs and malaria in the country because the future of Nigerian children, both born and unborn, are being ruined.
She charged the audience to demostrate active citizenship by ensuring that the goverment fight corruption more vigorously.
“Why is it important to empower Nigerian citizens to effectively fight corruption? The answer is in the social cost of corruption and how it has fuelled unemployment and poverty and undermined the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). All of us must acknowledge the fact that corruption is our common enemy. You don’t have to be silent when and where you need to speak.”
In his remarks, Inihebe Effiong, a human right lawyer who was the keynote speaker, charged the federal government to listen to the concerns of the common people, rather than using the instrumentality of the state to suppress the people.
“We are unhappy that despite the fact that our president used taxpayers money to treat his ear infection at a hospital abroad, he is not listening to the cries of the citizens. When the former governor of Akwa Ibom State had an accident, he quickly ran abroad for medical attention despite the earlier claim that the Ibom Specialist Hospital had the capacity to handle medical cases for which Nigerians run abroad.”
People in atendance include traditional rulers, the state chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Reverend Ndueso Ekwere; the state Commissioner for the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Mr Shola Shodipo; members of the civil society organisations, youth groups, students and journalists.
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Olugbenga is an Investigative Reporter with The ICIR. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter handle: @oluaimshigh