Community leaders have urged the Nigerian Government to re-introduce religious and moral education at the primary and secondary school levels to foster behavioural change in the fight against corruption.
The leaders comprising members of the traditional institution, Christian and Muslim Communities, the political class and the media made the call at a one-day symposium organised by the Inter-Religious Coalition against Corruption in Nigeria, ICACN.
The symposium, which had the theme “Amplifying Anti-Corruption Messaging through Interfaith and Traditional Engagement in Nigeria”, was held in Calabar, the capital of Cross River State, southern Nigeria.
The participants urged, “The constitution must be reviewed and defined roles for traditional rulers be specified to drive the fight against corruption.
We also advocate that government restore moral and religious education at the primary and secondary school levels.
Some of the participants reasoned that corruption, which was part of the human society, spiraled out of control when previous government decided to eliminate moral, religious education and even history as important educational subjects in primary and secondary schools.
They averred that for anti-corruption messages to be effective and the people to support the fight, deliberate action must be taken to change the schools curricular to promote behavioural change.
Another point, the participants raised to amplify anti-corruption messaging was for the government to desist forthwith from the use of the scriptures during swearing-in ceremonies of political office holders.
Constitutional Oath taking
The leaders, who took turns to speak passionately about the desecration of the holy books by political office holders under the guise of religious adherents, argued “it is deceitful to swear with the scriptures when you know you are going to defraud the people.
Rather, we suggest that the governments should make swearing-in of political office holders be by the constitution.
They also stressed that religious leaders, Christian or Muslims, should avoid holding prayers and “thanksgiving services” for political office holders when they win elections rather such ceremonies be conducted at the end of their tenure.
The leaders noted that conducting such and other religious rituals encourage corrupt politicians to “intensify their corrupt practices and it shows that as religious leaders, we aid and abet corruption.
We suggest that any such prayers be done after the tenure if they serve well.
They also advised the electorates to “deepen democracy by electing quality people to represent them.
The electorates should avoid money politics and other sentiments and rather insist on electing people that would put their interest above personal gains.
Highpoint of the symposium was the launching of an Anti-Corruption website known as “Reportmagomago.
com” by the Inter-Religious Coalition against Corruption in Nigeria, ICACN as one of the strategies to deepen the fight against corrupt practices.
The event was supported by the John D.
and Catherine T.
MacArthur Foundation through the government of the United States of America.
Anti-Corruption: Leaders want revival of religious, moral education