One group, the Nsukka Muslim Community of the University of Nigeria, has urged Nigerians of all walks of life to shun corruption and stop any attempt by anyone to perpetuate it in the country.

This was when the group noted that the country was sinking because of the plague, adding that it was high time the citizens rose up to stop it or risk being consumed by it.

The Vice President General of the Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, Ebonyi State/South-East Zone, Dr. Haroun Ajah, stated this during the group’s one-day community talk, tagged “Promoting accountability and anti-corruption through behavior change approaches,” in Abakaliki, on Sunday.

Speaking on the program where Muslim leaders and students attended; Christians; Ladies; young people; and the traditional rulers, among others, the Islamic scholar noted that Nigeria was on the brink of extinction if the citizens did nothing to save it from the clutches of corruption.

While noting that corruption had permeated deep into the fabric of the nation, he explained that it was everyone’s responsibility to stop its spread.

He said: “What stares us in the face and what we fight against is the issue of corruption. Often we think that corruption is 100 miles from us, that we don’t know what it is, not knowing that we’re all right.” Corruption is in our midst and it is circulating in and around us and this is why those of us who are here today should try to pass this message on to others who are not here.

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“Something should sting if we continue this discussion today. The organizers of this program said that Nigeria is known as a country of many prayers, but our prayers are not answered. But I must say that if our prayers had not been answered by God, we would have sunk, for it is the mercies and grace of God that have held this country. This is because we have backgrounds of communities that got caught up in this evil that we are talking about and God has never allowed them to exist until now. All we need to do is pray and work hard so that we can continue to overcome this evil in our country.

“Corruption is a departure from doing right or otherwise unjust things outside the normal course of business. Corruption is dishonesty and betrayal of trust. If there is a child among you and you starve him and beat him up, that is corruption. It’s not just when someone steals money, once you get dishonest and break trust, you’re corrupt.

“Corruption comes from us. It comes from us, which is why we insist on collective action and individual responsibility. And the Quran correctly states: “Corruption has spread on the sea, on the land and it is what we have caused with our hands and Almighty God still forgives most of us. That’s why we say that our prayers still work, because God’s mercy is still with us.

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“We have been warned by God not to be corrupt. The question is: are we paying attention? Let’s heed God’s instructions. Let us be careful not to disobey the commandments of God so that trials, temptations, punishments, and even civil wars cannot occur because of what we ourselves have caused.

“We must fear trials, temptation, rebellion and oppression which alone will not cause us harm and disaster, but are capable of spreading it. English men will tell you that when one finger touches an oil, it spreads to the other fingers. We’ve allowed a lot of people to get a few people involved in corruption and the whole thing is spreading within, within and beyond our communities. We must try to stop this spread by preaching the negative side of corruption.

“There is a World Bank disclosure about Nigeria and it is said that the country faces an existential threat because of the way its resources are being handled. Let us be warned and put an end to this evil in our midst.”

Earlier in his speech, the group’s director, Dr. MA Saddiq, that the program was in partnership with the Center for Democratic Studies (Manbaya House), Bayero University, Kano, adding that it was aimed at raising awareness of the community’s anti-corruption drive.

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Represented by a member of the Community, Alh. Abdullahi Chuks-Anyachonkenya, Saddiq explained: “We are here to make people aware of the Community’s anti-corruption campaign and to call on them to join the crusade against corruption in our society. This is in collaboration with the Center for Democratic Studies (Manbaya House) Bayero University Kano.

“It is our belief that if we inform people about the consequences of corruption in our midst as citizens, they will in turn take up the challenge and responsibility of spreading the news of the plague in our society. This is why we are here today. Everyone should have a responsibility in this fight and call a spade, a spade; call evil, evil.

“Therefore, it is an interfaith program or movement, regardless of creed, tribe or gender. Everyone is welcome aboard to spread this message of anti-corruption to make our society better for us and our unborn children.

“The Muslims are here. The Christians are here and even the traditional institution is represented here. Corruption has no religion, no tribe and no age. That is why everything and everyone has to stand up and stop it.”

A participant in the program, Adeyemo Nurudeen, said: “The issue of corruption has been with us without knowing when to come to us. That is why the program is important to us, as it aims to open our eyes to ways to reduce or even eliminate this corruption in our society.”

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