The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) have sent a strong message to Nigerians to say “no to corruption”.
EFCC officials led by the Secretary to the Commussion, Olu Olukoyede, NYSC Lagos State Director, Mr. Sunday Aroni and corps members and their officials disrupted early morning traffic on Lagos Island Friday with a walkathon to campaign against corruption.
The party moved from EFCC office on Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, through Keffi Street, Obalende Road, Moloney Street Catholic Mission Street to Tafawa Balewa Square and back to the EFCC office bearing banners and placards and handing out fliers with anti-corruption messages.
The group made two stops at Obalende bus stop and TBS bus terminal during which Olukoyede and Aroni as well as Trade Union Congress (TUC) Lagos chairman, Mr. Gbenga Ekundayo addressed corps members and the crowd that gathered.
Olukoyede said the campaign was necessary to enlighten people about the evils of corruption.
“Because of corruption, no good roads; because of corruption, no security; they are kidnapping our sisters, brothers; no good hospitals.
“Our hospitals have turned to mortuaries. From today, Nigerian youths would resist it,” he said.
Warning public officers against corruption, he said: “EFCC will arrest you; EFCC will question you; EFCC will jail you; and Nigerian youths will shame you.
“We are saying to everyone at the helm of affairs, if you are governor, govern well; no dey collect bribe; if you are a senator, senator well; if you are Commissioner, commissioner well; if you are a policeman, police well.”
He said recently recovered stolen funds had been earmarked to fund the projects – the Lagos Ibadan expressway; the Abuja-Katsina Road and the second Niger bridge.
He said corruption was fighting back but the EFCC would not relent.
He advised corps members not to be deceived by display of ill-gotten wealth on the social media but pursue success through honest hard work.
On his part, Aroni said the NYSC was well positioned to partner with the EFCC on the anti-corruption war because it had corps members all over the country.
“We have over 20,000 corps members in Lagos. If all of us will join hands as we have started doing today, to stamp out corruption, we just be doing our service; we will not be thinking of ‘where am I going to work tomorrow’. Because of corruption, no employment; cost of living is so high,” he said.
He said the scheme runs EFCC and ICPC anti-corruption Community Development groups which are trained to take the anti-corruption message to the grassroots – schools, markets, communities, etc.
The NYSC band added colour to the walkathon – dishing out tunes and beats to the admiration of passersby.
But as they shared fliers to onlookers in cars, buses or on the road they also took the chance to deliver their own messages to the campaigners.
“The fight should start from you,” said one woman. A commercial bus driver asked corps members close to him, “where were you posted to?” referring to the common practice by corps members to influence their posting to Lagos; while one man in a car asked some corps members, “what is your real age?” One drunk street urchin even walked up to an EFCC official and said: “bros, find corruption and slap im eye.”
A corps member, Frances Chukwuedo, praised the campaign but said more should be done to sensitize public office holders who abuse power for slefish reasons.
“As we shared the fliers to bus drivers, they said it was not them but we should talk to the police. I’m as much as everyone has a role to play, those at he helm of affairs need to be told to abstain from corruption,” she said.