Prof. Attahiru Jega, a former Chairman of, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Tuesday said that no nation developed without adequate and appropriate investment in the education sector.
Jega stated this in his keynote address at the 4th National Summit on Diminishing Corruption in the Public Sector with the theme: ‘Corruption and the Education Sector’ on Tuesday in Abuja.
The event was organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in collaboration with the Office of the Federation (OSGF) and JAMB
He said the Nigerian education sector had suffered neglect, underfunded which led to the crisis, compounded by the impact of corruption both from within the education sector itself and from the wider public sector.
He added that the effects of corruption in the education sector had undermined the national capacity to develop requisite national social capital for socioeconomic development.
“The corruption that takes place within the education sector is a dwarf mirror image of what happens in the wider Nigerian context, albeit to a lesser extent but with comparatively more consequences.
“Nonetheless, it is significant enough to attract serious attention and appropriate mitigation measures.
“In any case, fighting corruption and eliminating from the Nigerian public sector generally, and the education sector in particular, is a task that must be done.
“All hands need to be on deck for the successful accomplishment of this task.”
The former INEC Chairman suggested that to end corruption in the education sector, the culture of whistle-blowing to expose corrupt practices and their perpetrators should be encouraged.
He called for appropriate incentives to, and protection for, whistleblowers so as to encourage them to expose corrupt-related issues to the authority for necessary action.
“A very good legal framework for the fight against corruption, especially with the aid of whistle-blowing, needs to be enacted, with appropriate incentives and sanctions/punishment, as well as strong institutional mechanisms and agencies for enforcement.
“In this regard, the already existing anti-corruption institutions, which are doing commendable work, need to be strengthened, adequately resourced and incentivized to increase the tempo and effectiveness of their activities, ” he said.
On his part, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, called for the commitment of stakeholders in the sector to take anti-corruption initiatives seriously.
Mustapha said that if such initiatives were given more attention, they would be deployed to tackle corrupt practices.
According to him, research shows that the education sector is paradoxically playing a major role as an enabler of corruption in the country.
He added that “there is a need for commitment of stakeholders in the sector to take anti-corruption initiatives more seriously and deploy them to tackle corrupt practices.
“The National Ethics and Integrity Policy remain a tool for all stakeholders in the education sector to collaborate on a consistent basis with anti-corruption bodies most especially the ICPC or mechanisms for corruption prevention.
“The theme is even more appropriate because corruption is eroding the practical purpose of education at all levels. At the primary, secondary, and tertiary institutions.”
He added that this administration would not leave any stone unturned to tackle corruption in the public sector, adding that his office had been collaborating with ICPC in the last four years on this. (NAN)