The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, (ICPC) saddled with the responsibility of educating and enlightening the Nigeria masses on the negative consequences of corrupt practices, has inaugurated the Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit (ACTU) at the Federal University of Technology, Akure. The event that took place in the Committee room of the Vice-Chancellor’s Office saw the Chairman of ICPC, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye represented by Mr. Olayinka Ayegbayo administering the Oath of Office on FUTA ACTU members led by its chairman, Professor Babatunde Ajayi.
Presenting a paper titled “Anti-Corruption Fight in the University System, the role of the Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit (ACTU)”, Professor Owasanoye defined corruption as the abuse of or misuse of office or position of trust for personal or group benefit, or the exploitation of the system to obtain unmerited benefits. He said according to the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) in a recent study in 2018 on corruption in Nigeria, public higher institutions were also not immune from the bug of corruption. He therefore said it is apt to rise up in unison and proffer solutions in dealing with the University situation or aberration bedeviling the University system. According to him, the nature or form of corruption in the Universities and elsewhere is not limited to financial or material corruption alone but other practices such as sexual harassment, unfair allocation of grades, favouritism among staff, nepotism, plagiarism, certificate scandals, examination malpractices, sorting, admission irregularities and racketeering, and discrimination in allocation of staff quarters.
He reiterated that the aim of establishing Anti-Corruption fight in the University system and the role of the Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit (ACTU) are part of the ICPC Preventive Mandate and it arose from a synergy between the Commission and Federal Government. The ICPC boss stated that ACTU in each public organization and public higher institutions shall operate as an autonomous outfit and have a direct link with the office of the Chief Executive of the respective establishment. Owasanoye who described higher institution of learning as the conscience of the nation urged staff and students to live up to expectation to have a better Nigeria. He linked this to the Federal Government mantra of “change begins with me” and called on individuals to adopt this mantra.
According to Professor Owasanoye, the powers of the ACTU include, performing all the duties of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2000 except that of prosecution, ensuring that cases involving the Principal Officers shall be copied to the supervising ministers for the information of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; undertaking the preliminary investigation of each petition with minimum delay and forwarding the findings to the Commission. He lauded the effort of the Management at trying to ensure that FUTA is a corrupt free institution and also reminded the newly inaugurated and inducted ACTU members of the enormous responsibility entrusted upon them.
Speaking earlier, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Joseph Fuwape represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Rufus Ogunsemi said the history of ACTU in FUTA is rich and very interesting, with pioneer Chairman, Professor S. O. Ewuola. Professor Fuwape reiterated that the present Management in the University has been constantly creating awareness on the need for entrenchment of moral and ethical values, not only on personal lives of individuals but on the institution as a whole. Fuwape said to complement the activities of ACTU and achieve optimum compliance to rules and regulations the University has developed a range of instruments ensuring that governments efforts in combating all forms of corrupt practices are well entrenched in FUTA.
Sounding a note of warning, the Vice-Chancellor said it should be noted that corruption is not limited to stealing and embezzlement of resources alone, shirking of responsibility, truancy, favouritism and neglect of official duties are all forms of corrupt practices which should not be allowed to take root in FUTA. He commended the ACTU Chairman, Professor Babatunde Ajayi and its members for the advocacy, sensitization and programmes they have introduced since they came on board.
Members of FUTA ACTU are:
Professor Babatunde Ajayi - Chairman
Professor V. A. Bello - Member
Mrs. O. R. Ayodeji - Member
Mrs. A. M. Ojuolape - Member
Mr. T. M. Adamolekun - Member
Mr. A. A. Akinyode - Secretary