A group known as the Eagle Eyes Transparency and Integrity Initiative (EETII) yesterday embarked on awareness walk against rising cases of corruption in the nation’s maritime industry even as it called for capital punishment against rapists.
The walk which took members of the group through all the major streets of the port city of Apapa witnessed commendations from the members of the public who described the move as a welcomed development.
Speaking on the sideline of the awareness walk, the President of the Eagle Eyes Transparency and Integrity Initiative (EETII), Comrade Pastor Anthony Shaibu decried the rising cases of corruption in Nigeria in general and in the maritime industry in particular even as he recalled an incident that occurred during the awareness walk where freight forwarders at Maersk Line shipping company office in Apapa demanded that they hype their message so that the management of the shipping firm would hear as corrupt practices abound therein.
Shaibu observed that the shipping companies and the terminal operators often times made the job difficult for their client with the intent of ripping them off through demurrage saying, “that is why today, we are coming out as a body fully registered to partner with every necessary agency in order to end this monster called corruption in Nigeria and in the maritime industry in particular.”
He noted that in creating the awareness, members of the group wanted the public to also understand that the fight against corruption is a collective responsibility adding that “our responsibility is to assist the EFCC, ICPC and every other relevant agencies to expose every corrupt act that is going on in the system so that they can be aware and also to encourage them so that by the time we begin to report any case, they should also take a very drastic measure to ensure that we put a stop to this thing called corruption.”
According to him, “We are not a violent organization, we are a very peaceful organization and we believe that if all of us should start demonstrating with violent weapons and all of that, the aim might be defeated. This is the major way that we can go about it, that government will hear our voice and every necessary body that needs to come to our aid will hear our voice and we also encourage them that wherever they are, when they see us today, they should not just ignore, we want them to come inside and we want to work together with them.”
Speaking on other plans by the group to achieve desired result, the EETII President said, “We intend having a workshop very soon. A workshop whereby we are going to invite our members, the NPA, shipping companies, terminal operators so that they can begin to reason together and be able to identify the root cause of corruption and how we should go about stopping it. By so doing constantly, we know corruption in Nigeria has gotten to a stage where most people believed it cannot stop but by this effort, I think that if we cannot end corruption once, at least, we can minimize it.”
On what differentiates the group from other groups embarking on similar project in the maritime industry, he stated that “Right now, I think in the maritime sector as a whole, I can see that there is nothing like anti-corruption group. We have been in this maritime industry for a long time, this thing called anti-corruption awareness walk has not been done by any association before. Talking about this workshop that will also teach people about corruption and how to go against corruption, how to live a corrupt free life, I think there is nothing like it before. That is why we came up with Eagle Eye so that we can bring such thing that we are lacking.”
While dismissing insinuations that EETII is a brainchild of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Shaibu popularly known as Comrade Pastor stated that “Eagle Eyes Transparency and Integrity Initiative is a registered organization of its own that seeks to bring other associations together. Every association is welcomed, we are not for National Council alone, be you NAGAFF, be you ANLCA, AREFFN, be you individual that does not belong to any association, if you want to join us, you are welcomed. So, we are a very special group on its own with a different mission.”
While positing that EETII had done a lot of programmes with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offenses Commission (ICPC) in collaboration with an organization called Eagle Crime Awareness Campaign Initiative (ECAPI), he further disclosed that the group also partner with Women Arise by Dr. Joe Odumakin.
“So, with these two organizations, we have been having programmes with these agencies. But now that this Eagle Eye Transparency and Integrity Initiative has come up, we are in the process to partner with EFCC and ICPC and not only that, every agency that work within the ports, we are also working towards collaborating with them”, he added.
Speaking on the rising cases of rape in Nigeria in recent times, EETII President submitted that, “We have witnessed so many cases of rape this year alone and according to records, during the lockdown period alone, we recorded 3, 600 cases of rape in Nigeria and that is why we are not going to fold our arms and watching.
“What we are doing today is to also let you realize that fighting against rape is everybody’s responsibility, be you man, be you woman, be you old, be you young, it is our collective responsibility. And we also noticed that this rape cases mostly occur to the younger ones especially the girl child. So that is why this campaign programme this morning, we are bringing it to you that wherever you are, if you suspect any movement between a man and a little girl, please make sure you condemn such act, it is an evil act.
“And we are also recommending today to the federal government to make sure that any case about rape will not be taken lightly and we recommend capital punishment for any rapists.”
Also speaking, another official of the group, Dr. John Emeagi while condemning rape as an evil act called on the women to speak out whenever they are molested even as he said that “we want the public to know that we are against this evil act.’
According to Emeagi, “We are standing up to say no to this crime. So, when you see something, say something. Don’t keep quiet, you can come and report to us, then we take it from there. We are aware of a lot of rape cases going on especially at this lockdown period. We are collaborating with all the security agencies and we are standing out to make sure that we fight this crime and all other crimes.”
Photo: A cross-section of members of the Eagle Eyes Transparency and Integrity Initiative (EETII) during the Anti-Corruption Awareness Walk in Lagos yesterday.
Send your news, press releases/articles to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow us on Twitter @ptreporters and on Facebook on facebook.com/primetimereporters or call the editor on 07030661526, 08053908817.