Corruption: SERAP opens help lines in education, electricity sectors

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Nahimat Adekoga

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has established a toll-free hotline aimed to provide anonymous and confidential channel of advice and assistance to victims and witnesses of cases of corruption such as bribes solicited by officials or quasi-official bodies in education and electricity sectors.

In a statement  signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Timothy Adewale, the organisation said citizens are free to call toll-free hotline 0800-CALLSERAP (0800-2255-73727) to report petty corruption and other problems they encounter in their efforts to access services for themselves, their children or family members either in education or electricity sector.

The group said it would look carefully at any such report and consider appropriate interventions to address the problem.

“Millions of Nigerians continue to face challenges to accessing basic public services such as education, and electricity connections, including demands for bribes. It is the poorest who are hit the hardest by petty corruption, as demands for bribes can make education and electricity unaffordable or inaccessible and completely out of the reach of the most disadvantaged sector of the population,” Adewale said.

The statement said the initiative, also called Bribe lines, offers free legal advice, support, and puts tools to beat corruption in education and electricity sectors into hands of the public.

“We will also carefully analyse complaints and information received that relate to soliciting bribes for pre-school education, primary education and secondary education as well as electricity bills, meter replacements, electricity connections and re-connections, and consider appropriate interventions to address them and follow-up,” the group said.

Other cases that can be reported for immediate action, according to the SERAP, include: overcrowded classrooms and crumbling schools; selling of books and supplies that are supposed to be free; forcing children out of school because their parents are unable to pay unauthorised fees; and selling of grades or paying bills for electricity not consumed.

The statement said victims and witnesses would enjoy absolute anonymity and SERAP would treat with strict confidentiality any information received, urging people to feel free to contact them on their website if they have any questions regarding the hotline.

“People should feel free to call the hotline to receive appropriate assistance and guidance. In addition to the hotline, complaints and cases of corruption in the education and electricity sectors may also be reported via SERAP contact on our website,” the group said.


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