Nigeria @ 60: National Ethics and Integrity Policy [Download]

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BACKGROUND TO THE POLICY

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) is the apex anti-corruption agency in Nigeria vested with the responsibility of ridding the nation of corruption. The core mandates of the Commission are investigation and prosecution of corruption (enforcement), prevention and public education and enlightenment against the ills of corruption. This statutory responsibility derives from Section 6(a)-(f) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.

The Commission’s most prominent mandate is its enforcement power, however, its prevention and public education mandates are no less significant. In fulfilment of its prevention mandate, ICPC initiated Government circular OHCSF/MSO/192/94 of 2 nd October 2001 for the establishment of Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit (ACTUS) in MDAs. As at the end of 2019 over 400 ACTUs have been inaugurated in MDAs. Similarly, it conducts System Study Reviews and Corruption Risk Assessments on MDAs and issues directives on corruption prevention.

Furthermore, it deploys the Ethics and Integrity Compliance Scorecard in MDAs to assess integrity profile and conducts ethics training for public officials through its Anticorruption Academy of Nigeria (ACAN). It uses its niche within the Africa sub-region as expert on Corruption Risk Assessment capacity building a skill recently deployed in support of President Muhammadu Buhari’s role as AU anti corruption champion by training of heads of anti-corruption agencies in Africa in 2018.

In 2003, the Commission developed the National Values Curriculum for teaching of ethics and civics in Nigerian educational institutions. The document was adopted by the National Council on Education and in 2012 a Teachers’ Guide was launched to assist instructors infuse the curriculum in various subjects. The promotion of the National Ethics and Integrity Policy is a befitting follow up to the 2003 initiative and is done in collaboration and consultation with stakeholders most notably the National Orientation Agency.

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The National Orientation Agency (NOA)is responsible for mobilizing the general public towards understanding and implementing government policies and programs. The agency promotes ethical values such as dignity of labor, honesty, discipline in society, obligations of citizen reorientation against affluent lifestyle, prevention of abuse of power or privilege amongst other laudable objectives. It has championed a number of citizen responsibility campaigns the most recent being the “Change Begins With Me” initiated with the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.

Previously it had the “Do The Right Thing: Patriotism and Ethics First” campaign and conducted capacity building for MDAs on “Character, Integrity, Honesty, Temperance, Tolerance, and Perseverance based on Section 23 of the 1999 constitution as amended. It is a prominent part of Nigeria’s Open Government Partnership (OGP) initiative and it has the widest reach within Nigeria with presence in all 774 local government areas.

This policy coming at ICPC’s 20 anniversary and Nigeria’s 60 year of nationhood is timely. For this, the role of key stakeholders in its construct since 2014 is acknowledged.

Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye Chairman, ICPC

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