Kemi Okenyodo, the executive director of Partners West Africa-Nigeria, has called on federal and state governments to reform the certificate of origin issuance process across LGAs in the country.  Okenyodo spoke on Thursday as a guest on PUBLIC CONSCIENCE, an anti-corruption radio programme, produced by the Progressive Impact Organisation for Community Development (PRIMORG) and sponsored by MacArthur. The latest edition of the programme examined a recent investigation by TheCable which uncovered how public officials in some LGAs issue the certificate for a fee to non-indigenes, foreign nationals – and even non-existent people – in violation of the law. Commenting on the outcome of the two-part investigation, Okenyodo lamented that the local government has become the “breeding ground for security and transparency challenges” facing the country. She called on the government to beam the searchlight on corruption at LGAs and introduce reforms geared towards strengthening the anti-corruption fight at the subnational level. Okenyodo added that the government should sentise the citizens more about the process of obtaining a certificate of origin to save the unsuspecting public from extortion. “The duty of the government is to make obvious and put into the public space the process for getting certificates of origin, the cost and the duration,” she said. “The information should be out there in a dialect that people would understand and in a form that is easy and accessible to them so that those who do not avail themselves of the information have the responsibility to get the information and follow through and know where to report what is wrong. “The government should make things transparent. They should make the process for not only for a certificate of origin but other services at the local government level open and transparent.” Okenyodo also urged the government to strengthen the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and leverage data from the National Identification Number (NIN) in building a national data bank. Speaking on the show, Samad Uthman, an investigative and multimedia journalist at TheCable, said the investigation showed the lack of transparency in the issuance of some important documents across LGAs. Since its publication, the investigation has continued to dominate discussions in the public space. The report earlier featured on LagosTalks91.3FM. You can read the investigation here and here.

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