- Every Nigerian have been urged to get involved and join in the fight against corruption across the country
- This call was made by Ezenwa Nwagwu, the convener of the Say No Campaign initiative, a project sponsored by the Mac Arthur Foundation
- Nwagwu said it is worrisome that Nigerians have relegated anti-corruption fight to the government and its agencies
As corruption continues to ravage Nigeria, residents of some communities in the country have adopted new strategies to rid the system of corrupt people.
In Rimba Abaji, a community in the Abaji area council of the Federal Capital Territory, a contractor who abandoned the Rimba Ebagi road in 2014 was made to return from London and begin work on the project following citizens' persuasion.
The chief of the community, Abu Garba Muhammed told Legit.ng that through efforts from the Say No Campaign Nigeria Project, work is currently ongoing on the road.
Muhammed who was at the close-out ceremony of the Say No Campaign Nigeria said that with the initiative, residents are able to follow up on contractors to ensure that government projects are completed.
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The Say No Campaign is a movement that works to promote and strengthen citizens' engagement with government institutions.
An initiative of the Peering Advocacy and Advancement Centre in Africa with support from the Mac Arthur Foundation, the campaign focuses on mobilising grassroots, formal and informal groups to adopt and drive anti-corruption values in Nigeria.
Demanding accountability from public officers and those handling public funds
Continuing, Muhammed confirmed that his community members worked together with the Say No Campaign team to make sure that contractors returned to abandoned projects.
"We thank the Say No Campaign because there is a road from Rimba Ebagi all the way to Niger state, so they gave this contract for more than nine years and we heard that they had paid the money for the project in full but they never did it.
"We followed up on the project and brought the contractor back to site, he left the road in 2014 and we brought him back in 2020 to start work on the site."
"But when the Say No Campaign came they worked on that culvert although they are yet to finish the road. Since they came, we even went to the chairman of Abaji local government council and he has been helping to put some things in order."
"Now what we do is when politicians come to our place to campaign, we write an agreement and hand it over to the politician to read it and sign it irrespective of your party."
Giving his welcome address, the convener of the Say No Campaign, Ezenwa Nwagwu, said Nigeria's major challenge is that the fight against corruption has been outsourced to the government alone.
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He said that the people's lack of interest in the activities of government agencies or organisations -saddled with the mandate to provide basic amenities - is the major contributing factor to the robust corrupt practices found across sectors of the country.
Nwagwu added that the Say No Campaign has recorded several successes and that it is coming to a close does not mean an end to the fight against corruption.
"That this project is coming to a close does not mean that it is the end; it is rather a step to a more sustainable approach to fighting corruption in Nigeria."
When we started, we started with traditional rulers, now we have lawyers and notable Nigerians who have shown interest in the fight against corruption in their communities because they've seen the successes
Nothing that the Nigerian people need to own the fight against corruption in various sectors and industries littered across the country, Nwagwu said:
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"We have entrenched the fight against corruption in the people."
Presenting an insight to the project, the program manager Say No Campaign, James Ugochukwu, the initiative has successfully built active voices that demand accountability at the states and local government levels.
Ugochukwu said that the campaign started by prioritising the deepening of anti-corruption awareness and building citizens' capacity to effectively engage their representatives and those in public offices.
According to Ugochukwu, this includes tracking of budget, its allocation and status of projects around their communities.
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