The Chairman, Independent and Corrupt Practices and Other related Commission (ICPC), Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, has described corruption as a dream killer that must be fought to a standstill by the youth.
The Chairman, who was represented by Board member, Alhaji Alli Goni Gujba, said this Wednesday in Abuja, at the maiden edition of the Commission’s inter-schools debate for tertiary institutions in the FCT and Nasarawa State.
The institutions that participated in the debate included Veritas University, Baze University, Bingham University, University of Abuja, Federal Polytechnic, Nasarawa and College of Education, Zuba
The ICPC boss described the youth as the leaders of tomorrow, who needed to fight corruption with great rigour for them to achieve the desired goal.
He said that: “for this to effectively happen, both the older generation and the youth themselves must take steps to provide an enabling environment, both physically and intellectually, to encourage this progressive ideal.
“You must realise that corruption is a dream killer and if you do not fight it to a standstill at your level, it will kill your future dreams.
“Corruption is often erroneously viewed as an adult problem, yet the seeds of this societal virus are planted in the early stages of a person’s life.
“One of the holy books admonishes us to train a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he shall not depart from it.
“I therefore urge you to determine in your heart that you will not give the evil seeds of corruption and value degeneration a conducive environment to germinate.”
He said that the youth had the capacity to shape the future of the country with determination by deliberately shunning corrupt practices.
According to him, “it is indeed a truism that no nation can grow and develop faster than its level and standards of education.”
Owasanoye noted that the deficiencies of the society were magnified by the fact that the youth are starved of the appropriate ethical and cultural values necessary to become model citizens.
He urged the youth to take the advantage of the debate platform to reshape the society
“This inter-schools debate is one of the several platforms ICPC created to encourage capacity building, ethical re-orientation, behavioural change and positive value rejuvenation, especially amongst the youth,” he said.
The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, charged the youth to contribute their quota towards a Nigeria free of economic and financial crimes, urging them to “Do the Right Thing Always”.
Bawa, represented by Chidimma Amanambu, Assistant Commander, EFCC, Head Media Academy, Karu, charged them to contribute their quota towards a Nigeria free of economic and financial crimes..
“The youths are the future of our country and any opportunity to engage their minds in activities that will be beneficial to nation building is a welcome one,” Bawa said.
He expressed concern over the prevalence of cyber crimes among students of tertiary institutions, adding that “this is an illegal activity and not a good narrative as it affects the image of our country.”
He urged the youth, especially students, to shun the act and use the advantages provided for them by the institution of learning positively
“Institutions of learning are the fertile ground where students nurture and imbibe the virtues of integrity, honesty, punctuality and decency as future leaders,” he said.
Paulinus Okwelle, Executive Secretary, National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), in his remarks, called for concerted effort to build a culture of integrity and rid the education system of corruption.
“We commend you for your efforts to tackle corruption in our educational institutions. By addressing this topic, you have demonstrated a deep understanding of the challenges we face and the critical need for change.
“Tertiary institutions are important in shaping the future of our country. They should be indicators of knowledge, innovation and integrity, but corruption threatens to undermine the foundations on which these institutions are built,” he said.
Deputy Programme Director, Step Up Nigeria, Feranmi Iyanda, said that the event was a testament to the unwavering commitment of the youth to create a better and corruption-free future for Nigeria.
Iyanda urged the students to have the responsibility to champion anti-corruption efforts, not only within their educational institutions but also in all facets of our society.
“I believe wholeheartedly in the power of our youth to shape the future of our nation, and this is what drives the work we do at ‘Step Up Nigeria’.
“Your passion, energy and innovative ideas hold the key to transforming our society into one that is characterized by integrity, transparency, and good governance.”