Anti-corruption: CSOs partner security agencies, NUJ on responsible journalism, set up task force

Following recent developments in the country most especially regarding the commitment of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to rid the nation of corruption, a frontline pro-democracy movement Save Nigeria Movement (SNM) has commended him for the proactive manner the administration is dealing with corruption and related offences.

In a statement by the Convener, Rev Solomon Semaka in Abuja on Thursday, the group noted that Mr President has by his body language and actions demonstrated sufficient commitment to reset the country once again on the path of prosperity and accountability.

“As Civil society organizations that has been at the forefront of anti-corruption, it is soothing to have a president who stands for transparency and accountability and respect for the rule of law as opposed to what was obtained in the recent past”.

Rev Semaka while siting the suspension and ongoing investigation of the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs as a litmus test to the current administration expressed confidence that President Tinubu will get it right against all odds.

The group however bemoaned the rising cases of multiple blackmailing syndicates that are taking advantage of Mr President anti Corruption war to taunt, harass, blackmail and intimidate public officials.

“This is a very unfortunate development and it does not align with the vision of Nigerians whom we represent as civil society organizations and journalists”.

The group cautioned that as the conscience of the nation, the responsibility to hold public office holders accountable should be moderated so as not to cause unnecessary distractions to the discharge of their responsibilities.

The group said it has set up machinery in collaboration with security agencies, Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ) and sister CSOs to curb the rising activities of blackmailing syndicates which has become notorious in the system.

“We appeal to the leadership of the Nigerian Union of Journalists to intensify efforts in sensitizing their members on the need to adhere strictly to journalism ethics and eschew whatever acts that undermine the profession.

The CSO added that it was alarmed by the rising cases of blackmail and exploitation going on within the system among journalists and some self styled activists.

“It is our responsibility to protect the interest of the masses and to that extent we should do so with decorum, transparency and the fear of God as that is the only way to reform the country.

“A situation where some group of journalists and pseudo activist collaborate to fabricate negative reports against public officials with intent to intimidate and exploit them for personal gain must be tamed before it consumes the system and makes a mess of the efforts of Mr President.

“The anti-Corruption war has to be done with fairness and rule of law and we all agree that Mr President is on top of the crusade therefore, no public official should be distracted from performing their roles by the activities of blackmailers. The anti- Corruption agencies have demonstrated beyond doubt that they have processes to deal with corruption hence should be allowed to operate without distractions”, the statement noted.

The group assured security agencies particularly the Department of State Services (DSS) of adequate intelligence to enable the secret police monitor and contain the negatives activities of this syndicates before it gets out of control.

“In this regard, the SNM is setting up special desk officers across MDAs to boost intelligence sharing network to aid security agencies to sanitize the system and focus as this is the only way forward for the country, the CSO noted.