Following the ongoing review of the minimum wage by federal lawmakers, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas, has said Nigerians will get a ‘survival wage’ that could take them home.
Abbas stated this at a National Policy Dialogue on corruption, social norms and behavioural change in Nigeria, organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, in collaboration with the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria, and support from the MacArthur Foundation, held at the ICPC’s headquarters in Abuja.
Abbas, who was represented by a member of the House of Representatives, Busayo Oluwole-Oke, representing Obokun/Oriade Federal Constituency said: “We must acknowledge that there are other factors that influence the attitude or action of citizens to indulge in corruption. For instance, the question around a survival wage system is a big factor. A situation where the take home pay of a large segment of the population is unable to take them home is a recipe for all manner of corruption.
“This is why the House of Representatives is particularly interested in the ongoing review of minimum wage in the country. The House this time around will ensure that Nigerians get a survival wage that could take them home”.
Abbas further stated that corruption had impeded the country’s ability to reach its full potential, highlighting many factors that have fuelled corruption in the country.
He said: “Corruption in Nigeria has been fuelled by various factors, including weak governance structures, lack of transparency and accountability, poverty, and cultural acceptance of corrupt practices.
“While we have laws, policies and institutions to tackle corruption, it is my considered opinion that corruption continues to fester owing to prevailing societal attitudes towards wealth, fame, power and success regardless of how they are obtained.
“It follows, therefore, that addressing corruption requires not only legal and institutional reforms but also a transformation of social norms and behaviours. Social norms refer to the unwritten rules and expectations that guide individuals’ behaviour within a society or a particular group.
“In many cases, corrupt practices have become normalized within Nigerian society, making it challenging to eradicate them solely through legal means. Therefore, understanding and changing social norms becomes crucial to combatting corruption effectively”.
In the same vein, the Chairman ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, called on all stakeholders involved in the policy dialogue to implement advocacy programmes in their constituencies.
He called on them to also “lead by example to inspire their members and constituents. All stakeholders should list out corruption–inducing social norms that need to be discouraged and anti-corruption social norms that should be encouraged.
“Key stakeholders should institute a reward system for those who demonstrate good behaviour or who stand against corruption in their constituencies. Such a reward system should be elevated to a policy for all administrations to implement, and the ad hoc recognition of good practices which is presently being done should also be elevated to the level of policy that is not regime-bound.
“Federal and State Ministries of Education should develop and implement behaviour change programmes in primary and secondary schools for the youths.
“Federal and State Ministries of Education should introduce inter-school debates to promote anti-corruption social norms and behaviour change.
“The seven pillars of the National Ethics and Integrity Policy (NEIP) should be incorporated into the advocacy for behaviour change”.