A former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Nuhu Ribadu, has charged the media to uphold ethical values and expose corrupt persons and double-faced leaders who indulge in immoral acts such as corruption.
Mr Ribadu spoke on Saturday at an annual Ramadan symposium on “Anti-corruption Fight: The Roles of Media as a Change Agent” organised by the Muslim Media Practitioners of Nigeria, MMPN, in Abuja.
He said advocates of fight against corruption and moral rectitude should themselves be upright.
“As I always say; corruption cannot fight corruption. He who is morally challenged has no moral right to sermonize on morality. And when the morally deformed person attempts to rise against immorality, hardly would he ever succeed and often he ends up ridiculing such moral responsibility.”
Ribadu charged media practitioners to resist being used by corrupt elements in the society, saying the media should always be a defender of public good.
“As a journalist, you should make it a point of principle to never join forces with people you ought to help the public to fight. Above all, fear of God should be the guiding principle always.
“At points of temptation always prick your conscience; ask yourself what is in the public interest. Ask yourself; what or who is on the side of the truth before making news judgments or lending yourself to any cause.”
According to him, “Throughout history, media has played momentous roles in different societies to tackle a number of malfeasance, including corruption. Such turning point interventions by the media have also occurred at different points in Nigeria.
“In the case of fight against corruption, the Nigerian media should continuously rise up and resist continuous desecration of our country. Corruption desecrates our national ethos and values, and inhibits our well-being as a people. As the acclaimed voice of the voiceless, the media should be up against corruption in all forms,” he added.
The former EFCC chairman however noted that “for the media to effectively fight corruption, there must be self-purgation. Media should purge itself of corruption and stand up firm on the path of integrity to discharge its function effectively.
Bemoaning pervasive corruption in the country, Mr Ribadu noted that “Years of mindless stealing and waste of public resources has brought bad name to Nigeria and reversed the hope and aspirations we had as a country at the time of Independence.
“The haemorrhage of corruption has dragged this country to a brink in spite of efforts at different times, including what we are witnessing presently, to get the country away from the monster. Fighting corruption, therefore, is key to the survival and progress of our country.
“In this fight to emancipate Nigeria from corruption and the corrupt, you as journalists have a great role to play. Your role in this crusade is conferred by the potent of the weapon that is in your hands as pressmen and women. Journalism, you would agree with me, is a frontline profession when it comes to nation building and search for development.
“Cardinal objectives of journalism; that of upholding honesty, probity, fight against injustice and patriotism, sit very well with the teachings of Islam. In fact, fighting for the oppressed and telling the truth are some of Islamic injunctions that are repeated a number of times in the Qur’an and for which Allah promises abundant rewards.
“Therefore, as Muslim media practitioners, you should first see your positive role in the fight against corruption as an act of worship. Allah enjoins Muslims against injustice, and there is no injustice greater than cornering what is unto people into one’s own.”