The Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, has said that the Commission will prosecute any Vice Chancellor that is involved in sending unqualified candidates for the compulsory one-year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme.
Owasanoye, in response to a request from the Director General of NYSC, Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim, on the menace of fake NYSC members, during a courtesy visit to the Commission in Abuja, said that ICPC will act promptly, once a report of illegal mobilization of unqualified candidates for the programme by a Vice Chancellor was received.
He said, “We are ready to prosecute any university Vice Chancellor who mobilizes those that should not go for the scheme if you send them to us.”
The Chairman while lamenting the menace of corruption, urged NYSC to enhance the skill acquisition training being offered to corps members by advocating a skills-based tertiary education curriculum that would prepare youths to become employers of labour instead of depending on government to create jobs.
He also said that NYSC stood a better chance in helping the youth in the fight against corruption because the scheme provided the first point of contact with real-life situations for corps members after school.
According to him, “We can kill patterns that lead to corruption where necessary. Many young people think there is a short cut to success, that once you are out there, you just hit millions. That is not the case, there should be a gestation period. NYSC should create a platform to provoke positive consciousness, the activism to challenge things when they go wrong.”
The ICPC boss urged NYSC to create awareness on anti-corruption by enlisting the corps members into the social media platforms of ICPC, adding that it would help them to become anti-corruption stakeholders in their local communities.
The Director General, earlier in his address, noted that collaboration with ICPC which began in 2003, through the ICPC/NYSC Anti-Corruption Vanguard had yielded fruitful results.
Brigadier General Ibrahim said he was confident that the Commission would help deal with the challenges of mobilizing unqualified candidates for NYSC by Vice Chancellors.
He requested for the re-inauguration of the Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit (ACTU) in NYSC, saying that old members had either retired or been promoted above the schedule.
ICPC Chairman welcomed his request saying that ACTU would be inaugurated as soon as all the formalities were done with.
Meanwhile,the Chairman ICPC Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, has said that the on-going tracking of constituency projects by the Commission in 12 states of the federation was not to witch-hunt anyone.
Owasanoye however said that ICPC would not hesitate to prosecute any contractor that has failed to deliver on the projects, including accomplices.
He said this as the guest speaker while delivering a lecture titled “The Role of Quantity Surveyors in the Fight against Corruption, Especially in the Construction Industry”, at the induction ceremony of newly qualified corporate members of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS) in Abuja recently.
The Chairman said that ICPC commenced the Constituency Projects Tracking Group (CPTG) initiative to ensure proper implementation of funded projects at the various constituencies across the nation, while commending NIQS for its collaboration and participation in the on-going exercise.
He said tracking the projects was an important assignment for ICPC as the nation had spent about N2trillion on their funding since year 2000 without commensurate development at the grassroots.
He added that the initiative was already yielding positive results as some contractors had gone back to site to complete unfinished projects.
The ICPC Chairman urged members of NIQS to join the fight against corruption because of the critical role they play in the construction industry which is very important to the development of any nation, as the sector creates a lot of jobs and is inevitable in the society.
He advised the inductees to observe the rules of their code of ethics as it underlines the important role they play and discourages corruption in the process of performing their assignments.
The inductees were also advised not to use their profession against the society by engaging in corrupt acts, but to use it for public interest, as their positive efforts to rid Nigeria of corruption would not only help the profession but also the society at large.
The ICPC boss proposed to the institute to set up a committee to monitor projects as a public interest intervention in order to shed light on the true cost of projects.
He therefore congratulated the inductees and prayed that they would become the beacons of correction, professionals with integrity as well as part of the solution and not the problem to improving the situation of corruption in the profession and the Nation.
Earlier Chairperson of the event and immediate past president NIQS, QS Mercy Iytortyer, in her opening remarks told the inductees not to limit the celebratory event to their years of hard work but to the progress that lies ahead of them.
She added that they were expected to observe the professional ethics and standards, and contribute positively to the development of the nation and therefore must live exemplary lives for the younger generation to follow.
In his welcome address, the President of the institute, QS Obafemi Onashile encouraged the inductees to participate in the institutes’ activities, showcase the knowledge gathered and acquire competencies that would be at per with global standards.