Cleric charges religious, traditional leaders to join anti-corruption war




By Jethro Ibileke

Religious and traditional leaders across the country have been called upon to join the fight against corruption by advocating a behavioural change approach in their respective communities.

A Board member of a faith-based organisation, the New Apostolic Church Centre for Development (NCD), Mr. Victor Oriakhi, stated this in Benin on Tuesday, at a one-day anti-corruption conference for religious and traditional leaders.

The conference which was organized in partnership with the African Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), had as its theme: The role of religious and traditional institutions in changing social norms and behaviours that fuel consumption in Nigeria.

Oriakhi said the conference was designed to examine the role religious and traditional institutions can play in bringing about change in certain norms and behaviours that promote corruption in Nigeria.

According to him: “Religious and traditional institutions have a big role to play in using behavioural change approach to tackle corruption be they have a wide reach and millions of people listen and obey their instructions and command.

“If these roles are identified and acted upon, alongside the implementation of existing approaches, corruption is likely to be reduced to the barest minimum in Nigeria.

“The objective is to discuss extensively how religious and traditional institutions can be change agents in the society by practically preaching against behaviours and social norms that promote corrupt practices and revealing true consequences that can serve as deterrence to their religious adherents.”

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Oriakhi noted that innovative thinking now is that anti-corruption work should tend towards targeting a change in social norms which encourages corruption, in addition to existing efforts and strategies.

“The secret of this approach is that it increases citizens’ participation in the fight against corruption and adopting such an approach could make citizens build a strong resistance to corrupt tendencies,” he noted.

Oriakhi, therefore, encouraged religious and traditional leaders to preach good moral ethics and a good attitude, which he said will help to curb corruption

In his goodwill message, Apostle Goddey Odili of The New Apostolic Church in Nigeria south-south working area (Edo/Delta), emphasized the pivotal role of the church in the fight against corruption.

Odili noted that corruption will be reduced when “the church teaches and lives by the moral standard of God, adding that the message the church teaches matter a lot.

“Our preaching and teaching can influence our members to shun corruption. Let the church be at the forefront of the fight against corruption,” he said.

Odili, therefore, challenged religious leaders to stop discussing things that increase corruption.