National agency partners with academia to fight corruption

The country’s anti-corruption agency is partnering with the National Universities Commission, or NUC, to sponsor 20 doctoral theses engaging with anti-corruption issues over the next 10 years and to introduce an anti-corruption course for all students at undergraduate level.

In a meeting held at the NUC secretariat in Abuja early this month, head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, or EFCC, Ibrahim Magu said together with the NUC, the agency would also support the publication of research relevant to anti-corruption issues.

Magu said university students constituted a strategic target for anti-corruption training and awareness which is the reason for their support of anti-corruption research and scholarship and the anti-corruption course for all university undergraduates.

“The sponsorship is part of EFCC’s resolve to take the anti-corruption campaign to tertiary institutions by seeking out credible partners through the regulatory body to fight and minimise the incidences of financial and economic crimes,” Magu said.

He added that having the support of the NUC leadership would heighten the commission’s efforts to fight corruption and the corrupt in the over 150 federal, state and private universities under its regulatory watch.

“Our values, national ethos and national institutions have all suffered the effects of corruption, leaving us with no option but to confront the corrupt and bring corruption to its knees,” he said.

Magu said universities were hosts to many young people pursuing different programmes of study who would later move into the civil and public services as well as the private sector, which made it imperative they be aware of the dangers of corruption.

Abubakar Rasheed, the executive secretary of NUC, said that the commission would put in place all necessary mechanisms to realise the objectives of the plan in the best interests of the Nigerian university system.

Rasheed said NUC’s Director of Academic Planning Gidado Bello Kumo would assemble experts in anti-corruption to develop the curriculum and mandate all universities to incorporate the courses in the general studies of students at all levels. He said the programme would be a requirement for graduation, irrespective of their various courses of study.

According to Kumo, NUC already has programmes to address anti-corruption issues running in over 22 universities. The courses include forensic science, cyber-security and criminology. “Some are taken at undergraduate level while others at postgraduate levels,” he said.

However, the academic planning department would revisit and review the curriculum and work with experts in anti-corruption, other members of the NUC management, as well as academic directors in the university system, he said.