Mr Beluolisa Nwofor, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has called for the introduction of national ethics as a compulsory subject in public primary and secondary schools curriculum as a means to curb corruption in the bud in Nigeria.
Nwofor, who made the call in an interview with the Street Journal in Abuja on Wednesday, said the introduction of national ethics as a compulsory subject in Nigeria’s early schools’ curricula, will go a long way in inculcating in children knowledge about the menace of corruption early in life.
According to the learned silk, the best way to start the fight against corruption is from the root, by teaching the children the right way of life, when they are growing up, and not waiting until they become adults and their characters have been formed.
“Let the children be taught the right ways of life when they are growing up; we shouldn’t wait until they become adults when their characters have formed already.
“If you go to our schools, there is no subject called national ethics, why are we not teaching it? We must go back to the education sector and start from primary school. We should device programmes and introduce them in the educational system to teach national ethics,’’ he said.
The senior lawyer noted that Section 23 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, contains provisions on national ethics, such as discipline, integrity, dignity of labour, self-reliance, social justice, religious tolerance and patriotism, all of which can form a subject called National Ethics.
“Why don’t we have a subject called National Ethics in line with Section 23 of the Constitution, to be taught public schools just like English, Mathematics and others?’’ he asked.
Nwofor said that corruption has to be looked at from a broad spectrum and tackled from a holistic perspective with a long range approach, and not mere quick-fix solutions.
He also noted that the introduction of free and compulsory education at primary and secondary schools was necessary to tackle corruption, since not every parent can afford to send their children to school to benefit from the teaching of National Ethics if introduced.
Nwofor further called for a review of national budget priority in which education should be given the lion share, stressing that, instead of Nigeria wasting huge resources on anti-corruption agencies and the prosecution of corrupt state officials.
“We keep expending huge resources looking for thieves and looters of treasury and catching them, what about stopping people from becoming such dubious characters? How do we nip that in the bud?” He asked.
The renowned environmentalist lawyer said there was a more compelling need to stop people from becoming hardened criminals or becoming dubious characters, than simply arresting and prosecuting adult thieves.