The Independent Corrupt Practices And Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has discovered 67 illegal Universities in Nigeria.
The Chairman of the ICPC, Ekpo Nta who made this known on Thursday while presenting a paper on “Corruption and National Security” at the 22nd Annual International Conference on African Literature and English Language (ICALEL) at the University of Calabar noted that the illegal Universities were uncovered through investigation.
He said the commission will accordingly deal with the culprits in line with the law of the land noting that “some persons in the society who are aware of such corruption have decided to keep quiet because they feel it cannot be handled”.
Nta said “in shaping national consciousness positively, ICPC has designed programmes to help in checkmating corruption in the country by supporting and acknowledging the highly effective and strategic socialization role literature and writers have played and also novel ideas that will enrich the fight against corruption.
The ICPC Chairman, laid emphasis on the symbiotic relationship between corruption and national security which prevents good governance, sustainable growth and development adding that “corruption thrives in situations where there is little or no transparency in decision-making processes. Wherever public officials, occupying positions that confer major economic or social benefits, enjoy wide discretionary powers with little or no accountability, there is tremendous opportunity for corruption”
He pointed out that “the symbiotic relationship between corruption and national security can only lead to an unhappy marriage. Corruption prevents good governance, hinders sustainable growth and development. It promotes unemployment, low direct foreign investment, poor National image. It puts under threat the territorial integrity of a nation if corrupt officials do not ensure compliance with immigration, customs and excise laws and requirements”.
Nta explained, that in preventing corruption, ICPC has established Anti –Corruption Monitoring Units(ACTUS) in Ministries, Departments and Agencies, including Nigerian universities.
Giving a rundown of the role of ICPC in promoting national security, he said “If we agree that corruption breeds insecurity, then it goes without saying that whatever we do in ICPC should be seen in the light of promoting national security.
“ICPC is involved in detection, investigation, enforcement, preventive and education and enlightenment functions in the fight against corruption. In respect of preventing corruption, ICPC has established Anti-corruption Monitoring Units (ACTUs) in Ministries, Departments and Agencies, including Nigerian Universities. ICPC is actively involved in system study and the review of corruption-prone processes in Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and proffering and enforcing new processes and procedures. Currently, in collaboration with the National Universities Commission (NUC), we are reviewing corruption-prone processes in all of our Universities.
“In partnership with the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) we have developed and infused core-values into schools curricula for teaching ethics and civics in our primary and secondary schools including Teacher’s Guides thereto. ICPC has formed anti-corruption clubs in secondary schools and anti-corruption vanguards in tertiary institutions”.
He gave the assurance that the commission “shall continue to collaborate with the academia to re position our society positively. You must as individuals help sustain the fight against corruption through literary products which is now gaining worldwide audiences courtesy of film and social media. We are prepared to assist in supporting Writers’ workshops in the area of corruption, good governance and integrity.
He also disclosed that ICPC has formed anti-corruption clubs in secondary schools and anti-corruption vanguards in tertiary institutions.
Nta said that “ICPC is at this Conference for two major reasons. First to support and acknowledge the highly effective and strategic socialization role literature and writers have played, and must continue to play, in shaping national consciousness positively. African literature had in the past been in the forefront of the fight against colonialism. Today more than ever, it must throw its weight in the war against corruption and help democratic institutions develop. China Achebe’s novel No Longer At Ease (1960), Anthills of the Savannah (1987) and Wale Okediran’s Tenants of the House (2009) among others give an insight to the evolution of corruption in our society which leaves you laughing and weeping at the same time.
“The second reason ICPC for being here is to source for novel ideas that will enrich our fight against corruption and seek out new partnerships individually and collectively from your fold”.
In an open remark, a prolific writer, Elechi Amadi , congratulated the English department for keeping the dream of literature burning. He said, “I congratulate the English department for keeping this up. I know of many universities that had started something like this but somewhere along the line stopped”.
On his part, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor James Epoke acknowledged the English department for putting together a publication that can be used in tackling corruption through literature.
He advised the participants to shune corruption stating that it is the thing of the mind and it can be dealt with by individuals.