Monday, 18 February 2013

PUBLIC LAUNCH OF THE STOPTHEBRIBES.NET CORRUPTION TRACKING PLATFORM





On behalf of CLEEN Foundation, the Canadian High Commission and the Justice 4 All programme of the DfiD, I welcome you all to this public launch of the stopthebribes.net an Ushahidi-based user-friendly ICT platform through which cases of lower level bribes and extortion by public officials against members of the public either in their daily lives and in the course of business. Background Corruption has been defined as the abuse of public office for private gain . It includes unilateral abuses by government officials such as embezzlements and nepotism; as well as abuses linking public and private actors such as bribery and extortion. This takes place both in political and bureaucratic offices and it can either be petty or grand, organised or unorganised. It said that Corruption has permeated the fabric of the Nigerian society. As a country, we are seeing that it corruption poses a serious challenge to development, it undermines democracy and good governance by subverting the formal process. This project is aimed at strengthening transparency, oversight and advocating for appropriate sanctions for public officials that are found guilty of corruption. It would involve getting members of the public involved in monitoring and reporting low level corruption that take place around them. This they would be able to do by using their mobile phones to send sms, emails or make direct entries on the website, including upload of videos or photographs which provide evidences of such incidences. Why are we using the mobile phones and internet based platform as the main tools for reporting? The population of Nigeria as at 2012 according to world stats shows over One Hundred and Seventy Million One Hundred and Twenty Three Thousand Seven Hundred and Forty Million (170,123,740) while data from the Nigerian Communications Commission as at October 2012 shows that One Hundred and Twenty One Million Six Hundred and Sixty Thousand Eight Hundred and Fifteen (121,660,815) GSM connected lines and One Hundred and Five Million Nine Hundred and Thirteen Thousand Eight Hundred and Eighty Nine (105,913,889) lines are active. This means that there are about 2 Nigerians to a telephone line. Similar information from world stats also shows that there are about forty eight thousand three hundred and sixty six thousand one hundred and seventy nine (48,366,179) internet users as at June 30, 2012 which is about 28.4% of the population.


 This strategy was employed so as to ensure that there is no bias as per age, gender and socio economic status of the people that would make use of the platform. Verifiable information improves the credibility of information that would be sent in by members of the public so apart from following up with some questions, beneficiaries which includes citizens sending information to the platform would be encouraged to take action pictures and videos which can be captured by their mobile smart phones. These pictures and videos would also be uploaded to the website through the social media platforms (YouTube, Facebook and Twitter accounts that have been integrated onto the platform). It is expected that young person's would be keen on the project because it provides an opportunity to be part of President Jonathan's Transformation Agenda. Collaboration with the Nigeria Police Force One of the key area of the reformation agenda of the Nigeria Police Force under the leadership of IGP M.D Abubakar is to improve the image of the Nigeria Police Force. One of his first directives was the dismantling of road blocks at the high ways and commitment to improving police services at the police stations thereby improving public confidence in the Nigeria Police Force. This platform would assist the Nigeria Police Force to receive complaints about erring police officers and commendation of deserving police officers from the public.

PARTNERS The first phase of this project which involved design of the platform, setting up of the tracking platforms at the Nigeria Police Force, headquarters Louis Edet House and the CLEEN Foundation Resource Centre and the Public launch is supported by the Canadian Fund For Local Initiatives (CFLI) which is being managed by the Canadian High Commission. The CFLI support worthy local development activities that lead to sustainable development particularly by advancing democracy and ensuring security and stability. The second phase of the project which would involve public awareness spread across the country however with attention to the following states Lagos, Imo, Kano, Enugu, Kaduna and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. This would involve deploying radio jingles, posters, organising and holding town hall meetings that would bring together groups that come in regular contact with the police - okada riders, commercial taxi or bus operators, market traders, artisans, community based organisations for one day interactive discussions with the police. They would be sensitised and introduced to this platform and how they can make use of it.

This phase would be supported by the Justice 4 All which is five year programme, funded by the UK Department for International Development (DfID) and British Council. The activities of J4A focus particularly on improving access to justice for poor and disadvantaged members of the society including women. Once again, on behalf of CLEEN Foundation, CFLI and Justice 4 All welcome to the public launch of an Ushahidi based user friendly ICT platform - stopthebribes.net .

 Thank you.

Kemi Okenyodo
Executive Director
CLEEN Foundation

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