Tony John, Port Harcourt
Corruption, which seems to be a norm in the society, to Choba University of Port Harcourt business community, is dreaded. The community abhors the act, and would not shield any business man or woman, whose way of doing business in the area is suspicious.
Following the community’s stiff opposition to corruption and any business transactions that would smear the reputation of traders in the place, recently, an awareness campaign was organized for them by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
Choba Park Business Community organised the programme in conjunction with ICPC. Members of the business community in their numbers, graced the occasion. Throughout the duration of the sensitization campaign, they demonstrated rapt attention to the series of event that took place.
Choba Park Business Community is made up of people from different towns and communities, ad well as states, who gather together in a particular environment (UNIPORT), to seek for their daily bread, in terns of carrying out several business transactions.
In her address, the acting Secretary of the union, Stella Kalu, thanked the anti-graft agency for creating to honour their invitation. She noted the scourge of corruption in society which has affected several sectors.
Kalu expressed: “We appreciate your (ICPC) effort to initiate a programme on sensitization creation on the menace of corrupt practices that have eaten deep into the fabrics of this country and ways to curb the resultant effect. These corrupt practices include forgery, dishonesty, theft and many others”.
She added that the awareness campaign came at the appropriate time, when there was calls for all hands to be on deck to tackle the scourge. The secretary also charged the members to shun corrupt practices and engage in legitimate businesses.
Kalu ssid: “In fact, this programme came at the right time. And it is a welcome development to work as a joint force with your esteemed Commission, with a view to making this great community a corrupt-free and egalitarian society, geared towards promoting justice and equity, and becoming a true citizen of this great nation, Nigeria.
“It is my pleasure to appeal to each and every one of us present, to desist from involving himself or herself in illicit behaviour that will tarnish the image of this Business Community and Unique University of Port Harcourt in general”.
She appealed: “We, therefore, urge this commission to always keep abreast with us by your care, love, and frequently communicate with us through your unique advice, corrections that will help us live a guarded life, thereby becoming useful and the most valuable asset in the society.
“By the special grace of God, we, the members of Choba Park Business Community, promise to abide by what we are going to through your teachings on corrupt practices in order not to be victims”, she appealed.
Speaking too, Chairman of the task force, John Akano, thanked the commission for creating the awareness to the Choba Park Business Community. He also appealed to ICPC to extend sensitization to other business communities in the neighborhood.
Akano enjoined his colleagues to make good use of the campaign, so that they would not fall into problem. He noted that, if business men and women within the area had prior knowledge of the consequences of some business activities, they would not have engaged in them.
Some of the businessmen who spoke at the event expressed delight at a knowledge they had acquired. They expressed optimism that the knowledge would help them progress more in their businesses.
One of the female traders, Patience Nwoko told Daily Sun that her saving grace from indulging in printing of unauthorized documents was the risk involved and self-discipline. She disclosed that her colleagues at Choba Park Business Community were not known for illegal business practices.
Nwoko expressed: “What we need is more knowledge. We might be doing some business transactions not knowing that it is not right way. The truth is that we are very careful because nobody would like to lose the little cash he or she has.
“We have a very strong understanding of what illegal business can lead to. We need steady orientation, so that some of us, who do not have much knowledge about the businesses that can easily lead one into problem, can learn.
“Choba Park Business Community is a strong and united one. That is why people could leave shops to attend this awareness campaign. We want to maintain our legitimate businesses because nobody would like to damage his reputation because of quick money”, she stated.
Another member of the business community, who simply gave her name as Joy, told the reporter that she was delighted such sensitization was carried at the park. She said that doing business in a university environment requires absolute alertness and knowledge.
She said:”You know that students can rush to you, especially we that run business centre (referring to typing, photocopying and internet services). If you are carried by quest to make money, you might see yourself landing into trouble.
“Sometimes, the students would come and want you to type a document or photocopy a document with you paying attention to the document. In such a scenario, you might see yourself handling a document you are not supposed to handle.
“So, this message came at the right place to the right people. In fact, it is not only documents that are common with corrupt. Under this environment, some secret businesses could be thriving underground without the knowledge of many people.
“But, with this campaign today, it is clear that we need more awareness in doing business in a university environment. We need more sensitization regularly. I am happy a task force has been set up to monitor business activities in this university community”, Joy expressed.
Meanwhile, the anti-graft agency has advised members of the UNIPORT Choba Park Business Community to shun business acts that can ruin their lives and business.
Speaking for ICPC, Peter Aveyina, told them that the essence of the programme was to prevent them from victims of corrupt practices. He charged them to avoid any business transaction that would rubbish their reputation.