An organisation, Inter-religious Coalition Against Corruption in Nigeria, has tasked conventional media to use its wide platforms and credibility in promoting accountability and anti-corruption campaigns by intensively investigating and reporting cases of corruption with boldness, educating the public on its ills and launching advocacy campaigns.
The Coalition, which is sponsored by MacArthur Foundation, said this during a one-day symposium in Calabar with the theme ‘Using Conventional Media Platforms to Promote Accountability and Anti-Corruption in Nigeria.’
It argued that with such approaches from the media, religious organisations and traditional institutions, a culture of transparency and accountability could be instituted in the body politic of the Nigerian state.
One of the coordinators, Bishop Emma Isong, who represented the Christian faith, said: “The greatest disease or caterpillar eating up the fabrics of the Nigerian polity is corruption, and this is affecting our economy. All hands must be on deck, the religious leaders, traditional leaders, the media and indeed all Nigerians must come together and fight corruption and lack of accountability in governance.”
Isong, who is also the national publicity secretary of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) and Presiding Bishop of the Calabar-based Christian Central Chapel Int’l (CCCI), said, “We could overcome corruption if we imbibe the seven pillars of National Ethics and Integrity Policy (NEIP) which are human dignity, voice and participation, patriotism, personal character/responsibility, integrity, national unity and professionalism.”
In a keynote address, a resource person, Engr. Wisdom Akwari, advised that for media reporting and journalism to play an effective role in corruption detection, the media has to be free and independent.
He said the fight would become easier if the Freedom of Information (FOI) laws were made fully operational, therefore advised owners of media houses to avoid undermining anti-corruption efforts to protect their political interest.
“There can never be objective journalism and accurate information dissemination that will lead to accountability and anti-corruption if there is no freedom of press, when the owners of the media are in positions of political authority and when there are threats on the lives of the media members,” he said.