Press Release: Stakeholders to Launch National Campaign Against Impunity

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LAGOS, THURSDAY, 9 May 2012:  A multi-stakeholder campaign to check impunity in all sectors of the Nigerian society will be launched in Abuja on May 16 by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Tagged the “Stop Impunity Nigeria” campaign, the project is a collaborative effort by a multi-stakeholder group of civil society organizations, religious bodies and a Federal Government agency, aimed at re-orienting Nigerians and promoting new ethical values to free the country from the debilitating effects of impunity.

According to the campaign coordinator, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, who is also Executive Director of Human Development Initiatives (HDI) in Lagos, the campaign is borne out of a realization that Nigeria’s development challenges are in a large measure the direct result of a culture of impunity which has taken root in all sectors of the society over the last several decades.

Prof. Owasonyoye said: “Impunity has clearly become Nigeria’s single biggest problem.  It provides cover for most of the other ills which plague the country and renders any intervention by governments, civil society organizations and other stakeholders ineffectual.  As a result, Nigeria’s development trajectory is on a downward slope while its reputation for corruption has become the main defining feature of the country and its people.”

The campaign is the initiative of a coalition of four civil society organizations working in the areas of governance, transparency and accountability, namely Human Development Initiatives (HDI) in Lagos, Media Rights Agenda (MRA) in Lagos, Community Life Project (CLP) in Lagos, and the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) in Abuja

Prof. Owasonyoye said the civil society organizations as a group have entered into partnerships with the National Orientation Agency (NOA), the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), and the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), under which they have all agreed to implement joint activities and undertake other collaborative actions to advance the objectives of the campaign.

The campaign has identified four priority thematic areas on which it plans to focus its campaigns. There are the Public Finance Management sector; Rule of law; the Electoral Process; as well as Patriotism, Civic, and Ethical Responsibility.

The organizations argue that any strategy for eliminating corruption in Nigeria must be grounded in rooting out impunity by ethical re-orientation of the populace.

According to Prof. Owasonyoye, “Impunity has been known to fuel, not only corruption, but also human rights violations, organized crime, violence and fear.  Impunity undermines the rule of law from top to bottom and creates a major threat to political and economic stability. In many countries where corruption has been successfully tackled, impunity has also being confronted without equivocation.”

The launch event is expected to be attended by State Governors, Ministers, Members of the National Assembly, civil society organizations, media practitioners, professional bodies and associations, trade unions and the general public.

For further information, please contact:

Jennifer Onyejekwe
Deputy Executive Director
Media Rights Agenda
Email:  jennifer@mediarightsagenda.net