The National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) in Kuru, Jos, delivered a stark warning on Thursday against the proposition of imposing the death penalty for corrupt public officers, asserting that such punitive measures would not effectively curb corruption in Nigeria. Instead, the institute urges a shift towards behavior-change approaches as a more practical means of reducing graft.
Prof. Ayo Omotayo, the Director-General of NIPSS, conveyed this perspective during an interview with journalists while validating the curriculum on institutionalizing behavior-change approaches to reduce corruption in both the public and private sectors in Nigeria in Abuja.
Despite the existence of robust anti-corruption regulations and campaigns in Nigeria, Omotayo emphasized that more needs to be done. He stated, “Killing people for corruption practices is not something that we at NIPSS want to encourage. If we can reduce corruption to 50 percent, our society will be okay. So, corruption in Nigeria has not gotten to a level where we will be executing people.”
Highlighting the need for a reassessment of current strategies, Omotayo remarked, “If you continue to do certain things in a certain way and you continue to get the same result, then you have to review your approach. We have come to the conclusion that we have all the laws or legislation to ensure that we do not have corruption in Nigeria. But all of these have not been effective enough. So, we felt that we needed to make a whole paradigm shift to behavioral change. We ask ourselves: Can we get people to change their attitude? Forget about the law; forget about the order; let us start by changing our attitudes to behavioral changes.”
NIPSS’s perspective underscores a growing recognition that addressing corruption requires a comprehensive strategy encompassing cultural and behavioral shifts alongside legal measures. As Nigeria confronts the pervasive issue of corruption, the institute advocates for a nuanced approach that tackles the root causes and fosters lasting behavioral change.