​Ex​​pose corruption on your campuses, SERAP tells campus journalists

Participants at the event
As a part of eradicating corruption in the country, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged campus journalists to always expose all forms of corrupt activities in their various schools and immediate environments.
SERAP gave the charge at a symposium themed, “Corruption, Media Rights Violation and the Role of Student Journalists in Nigeria,” held at Radisson Blu, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos State.
The seminar was organised for student-journalists in conjunction with the National Union of Campus Journalists (NUCJ), as part of efforts to make the country a better place and improve her image amongst nations.
In his remarks, Executive Director of SERAP, Adetokunbo Mumuni, said, “this is part of the numbers of events we have held to keep strengthening transparency, accountability as well as economic justice.”
Mumuni listed the core strategies used by the organisation as tools in the fight against the phenomenon to include litigation, advocacy and publication.
He said, “we use any of these strategies depending on the context of the perceived situation,” while lamenting that corruption had hindered the country from attaining its potential.

He urged the campus reporters not to fear school authorities in the habit of threatening them with suspension when they publish graft in their campuses, adding that “as long as what you publish is the truth, SERAP as an organisation will fight for you in the court of law. Truth is the only defence against defamation.”

The executive director noted that Nigeria still ranked 144 in corruption out of 180 countries and 27 out of 100, based on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index of 2018.

While citing a national survey report of 2,549 respondents across the geopolitical zones, Mumuni said corruption was driven by entrenched social norms.

“The undermining thrust of the report is that factors impeding the efficacy of laws, policies and institutions in the fight against corruption are to not found in the laws. The factors are found in the larger societal matrix of norms and institutions, which form a key part of the corruption ecosystem in the country.

“The environment, thus constituted, is either conducive to, or largely tolerant of corruption. The report, therefore, suggests that for current anti-corruption interventions and efforts to be successful, they must engage broadly with the environment by instigating social change,” Mumuni said.

The Deputy Director, Premium Times Centre for Investigate Journalism (PTCIJ), Oluwatosin Alagbe, who spoke on “The Importance of Journalism in the Fight against Corruption,” named grand, political and petty corruption as the three types of corruption.

She said: “As upcoming journalists who have chosen this adventurous path, you must report the important issues going on in your schools as well as your communities.
Alagbe, challenged the student-writers to report corrupt practices such as examination malpractices, falsification of certificates and transcripts, hostel allocation racketeering and sexual harassment by lecturers.
“Campus journalism in whatsoever form remains a powerful tool for attitudinal change. I, therefore, urge you to use this tool to entrench good social norms in your respective communities, so that we can have a Nigeria we would be proud of,” she said.
According to Alagbe, students had the responsibility of becoming advocates of attitudinal change to have a country that they would be proud of while regretting that corruption had become an acceptable norm in the country.

At the workshop, SERAP released a 68-page document titled, “Nigeria: Anti-corruption Social Norms Report” which x-rays corruption perception in the country.

Participants at the event formed a social platform for sharing experience and other issues on corruption.