Fighting corruption starts with what children are taught, anti-corruption expert Onyinye Ough has argued.
Author of Emeka’s Money, a modern parable to teach young people about the impact of corruption, Ough said corruption cannot be won just by going after high-profile convictions.
“The need to go beyond the obvious like prosecutions and convictions or even making systems tougher through technology like BVNs or removing ghost workers from payrolls,” said Ough.
“ If we are going to stamp out corruption in Nigeria we need to go deeper and change how our society treats corruption.
“Corrupt people often do not realize they are corrupt. Most of them do not recognise that their actions are causing harm to people. To make matters worse, these corrupt persons are praised and celebrated for their corrupt actions by their friends, family and those who directly benefit. All of these factors makes it difficult to teach children about the harm corruption is having.”
Emeka’s Money launches as part of the Catch Them Young campaign by Step Up Nigeria.
The character Emeka is described as a good man trying to do good things for the people he likes.
He fails to realise at first glance that his “nice actions” to his friends cause damage to the growth of his community.
In one instance, Emeka helps a friend secure a road contract in return for kickbacks. But the kickbacks are so huge, they eat into construction funds that damage the road quality. A woman is badly injured in a road crash as a result.
The book draws links between different aspects of corruption and the real harm they cause people.
Step Up Nigeria plans to make Emeka’s Money and other publications that teach about the impact of corruption more widely available in schools and households nationwide.