The U. S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, met with five steering members of the Religious Leaders Anti-Corruption Committee on August 25 to discuss their ongoing efforts to counter corruption in Nigeria through teaching, preaching, and government advocacy.
Reverend Ladi Thompson of the Living Waters Unlimited Church and Imam Shefiu Abdulkareem Majemu of the Strength in Diversity Development Center represented the steering committee for the interfaith group, which took shape after a January 2016 anti-corruption dialogue between religious leaders in Lagos and U.S. Special Representative for Religion and Global Affairs Shaun Casey. Committee members include Reverend George Diala of the Covenant Foundation Christian Center, Alhaji Osho Tajudeen Babatunde of the Lagos Central Mosque, and Mr. Soyemi Ololade Ismail of the Strength in Diversity Development Center.
Joined by U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission David J. Young and Consul General Francis John Bray, the committee representatives shared with Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield their views on the effects of corruption on the development of Nigeria, and the weakening of government institutions and accountability.
They discussed their plans to promote anti-corruption norms and efforts through training and mentoring programs, development of educational materials that promote integrity from a religious standpoint, as well as traditional and social media campaigns.
Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield thanked the religious leaders for their work on an issue that was crucial for Nigeria, and urged them to continue to work together as a team, and with the U.S. Mission in Nigeria.
“I encourage you to become more focused, more creative, and more collaborative as you continue to work to enhance your anti-corruption impact,” said Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield. “As moral leaders in Nigerian society, you have taken a very important step to get at the root of the problem of corruption.”
According to her, religious leaders would benefit from greater cooperation with other civil society actors, in order to create more peaceful, stable, and secure communities.