By Ibrahim Lamorde
Remarks at the inaugural EFCC Zonal Anti-Corruption Sensitization Workshop for Women Civil Society and Community-Based Groups organised in partnership with the African Centre for Media & Information Literacy (AFRICMIL).
I warmly welcome you to this unique gathering: the inaugural training forum for women civil society and community-based organisations on anti-corruption and economic and financial crimes.
In our effort to position civil society as a catalyst in the fight against corruption, we have initiated a number of programmes, including enhancing the investigative skills of journalists and building the capacity of community-based organizations, faith-based organizations and professional groups on budget monitoring and tracking.
We are convinced that the power to change the destiny of our nation as one blighted by deep-rooted corruption, lies in our hands. Therefore this sensitization workshop with the theme, ‘how women’s organizations can aid the fight against corruption, economic and financial crimes’, is but one little step in the long journey to making each and every one of us take ownership of the war against corruption.
We are all agreed that corruption undermines human development and democracy; corruption reduces public revenue, often resulting in lower levels of spending on education, healthcare, and other social services that directly impact women more than other groups in the society.
According to a 2008 report by the United Nations Development Fund for Women, UNIFEM, women are more vulnerable to the impact of corruption than men. This is particularly true of corruption in public service delivery. As women form a larger proportion of the poor and take primary responsibility for child care, they are more reliant on freely provided public services. As a result, corruption in public service delivery has a disproportionate impact on women.
These decreased outlays predominantly affect the welfare of women and children who often rely mostly on accessing the vital services provided by the state.
But it also shows that women can play a critical role in the fight against corruption, economic and financial crimes.
With programmes like this, we hope to mainstream gender into anti-corruption initiatives by taking into account the implications that planned and sustained interventions have on women and men. Such considerations can lead to better designed and targeted policies to combat corruption.
Theparticipation of women in anti-corruption initiatives is an addition in the collective effort to rid our society of corruption.
Programmes like this can create opportunities for women’s organisations to become engaged and carry out more effective corruption monitoring, which contributes to improvements in policy formulation.
The zonal sensitization workshops for women’s civil society and community-based organisations seek to articulate a structured national response to gender and corruption. It will target female youths and students as well as relevant public and private agencies and institutions.
At the end of each zonal meeting, participants will form the core of a platform – Women Anti-corruption Network – through which the Commission and stakeholders can interface with the general public on the issue of gender and corruption.
It is our firm conviction that a popular anti-corruption movement removed from the strictures of politics and bureaucracy, led and substantially driven by women can help establish critical grassroots involvement in the fight against corruption. We hope that, along with other stakeholders, you would join us in realising this dream.
I wish you all very fruitful interactions and thank you for your kind attention.
· Ibrahim Lamorde, Executive Chairman Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). He gave this speech on Monday, August 11, 2014, at Newton Park Hotel & Resorts, Abuja, Nigeria.
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