Starrys Obazei/September 30, 2022.

To fight against corruption and unethical behaviours the Independent Corrupt Practice and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has sought the collaboration of the traditional rulers, religious leaders, civil society groups, and other stakeholders in Ondo State.

Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, the chairman of the anti-graft commission, gave the charge at a one-day sensitization dialogue with traditional rulers, religious leaders and civil society organizations on the national ethics and integrity policy in Akure, the state capital.

The ICPC boss, represented by a member of the board of the commission, AIG Gbenga Adeyanju (ret’d.), noted that the traditional rulers and other society leaders had a vital role to play in societal development and had great tasks in influencing values and ethics in the society.

The chairman also charged the stakeholders to deepen their partnership with the agency in reducing corruption, promoting ethics, values and behaviour change, and building a better Nigeria for all.

He said: “The design and implementation of the National Ethics and Integrity Policy identify and recognize you as critical stakeholders if the promotion of the policy is to be successful.

“As traditional rulers, you are royal fathers, custodians of traditional norms and values that project your communities and people as responsible people.

“As religious leaders, our Pastors and Imams are not only spiritual guides but also moral compasses by which we measure society’s positive growth or otherwise.

“As players in the civil society community, you are leaders in your own right with the task of standing as the voice of the voiceless to call the attention of relevant authorities to the plight and conditions of the ordinary people of our rural communities.

It is clear from all indications that you all form critical groups of those who are closest to the people at the grassroots and wield a great deal of influence in initiating and sustaining behavioural change amongst the people.

“After his Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari launched the National Ethics and Integrity Policy in September 2020, the first critical stakeholders the ICPC and its collaborating partners met within the course of promoting the policy and canvassing their buy-in to enable a nationwide success in its promotion, was the National Council of Traditional Rulers at its meeting in the historic city of Kano.

“At that meeting, I recall informing the council that the ICPC and its partners were going to ensure the campaign to sensitize various stakeholders on the NEIP was going to be continuous and will be at the National and subnational levels.”

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