A Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), Mr. Francis Erhabor has emerged the lead Integrity Icon of 2019 in a workplace honesty survey conducted by the Accountability Lab Nigeria, an organisation committed to “naming and faming” honest civil servants in Nigeria.
Other icons honoured at the award event which held Tuesday night in Abuja were Kacheilom Betram Roberts-Ndukwe, a teacher at GSS Andoni in Rivers state; Tina Odinakachi Iirmdu, a lecturer at the University of Jos; Christian Ahiauzu, an ICT unit head at the University of Port Harcourt; and Tani Ali Nimlan, an assistant director at NAFDAC.
Accountability Lab Nigeria said the event, which was the third edition in a row was in line with fulfilling its goal of promoting accountability, transparency and greater participation in governance across the country.
The awardees took turns to share their stories on the challenges they faced while yet, chose to remain persons of integrity. CSP Erhabor recalled that he enrolled into the police at 17, and was prepared at entry with two eyes opened, and a vow never to collect bribe. “I was passionate about the job, and vowed to be a change agent. I took a vow before God, and because of stance against corrupt practices, many of my colleagues don’t like to be selected into any team I lead”.
While according Mr. Christian, a particular case in question was his rejection of N2.5 million by a company bidding to be internet service provider (ISP) for his university, as well as turning down packages from erring contractors for cover, Betram recalled how she fought against illegal charges for transcript, and monies demanded to look for “missing” files, leading to her inglorious sack from the first public school where she taught.
Also, Iirmdu, who at a time was hired as a WAEC examiner, recalled how in 2009 after marking, later got a fresh bank alert amounting to N1.2 million after she was earlier paid her marking allowances, but had to return the sum to Jos office of the Council, and also turning down a blank cheque offered by a student’s father in order to upgrade his scores. On her part, Mrs. Nimlan narrated how an importer attempted to bribe her to prevent inspection of a container, purported to be carrying life-saving drugs, but was confirmed through test, to be concentrated hydrochloride acid.
Earlier in his goodwill message, Ambassador of Sweden to Nigeria, Carl-Michael Gräns described integrity and transparency as the two strong pillars that democracy relies on to survive. “The issues of transparency are not for civil servants alone,” he said, adding that MDAs, CSOs, businesses, private sectors and diplomatic communities must continue to strengthen human rights and push for equality, openness and freedom.
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