By Jacob Ndifreke – Abuja, Nigeria, Friday, January 24, 2020.
A Nigerian Police Officer described as incorruptible and most honest in the discharge of duty as a police officer has received an iconic award of integrity from Accountability Lab.
The officer, Francis Erhabor who heads the Itam Division in Akwa Ibom State, South South Region of Nigeria was awarded in a summit organized by Accountability Lab in collaboration with Luminate, MacArthur and Ford Foundation on Monday, January 20, 2020, in Abuja, Nigeria’s administrative Headquarter.
Erhabor who has won numerous awards and received accolades was one of the five exceptional personalities awarded at the Integrity Icon Award Summit for never receiving bribe in public service.
Other awardees who were celebrated for their outstanding qualities are; Tina Odinakchi, lecturer, University of Jos, Christian Ahiauzu, Head of ICT Unit, University of Port Harcourt, Tani Nimlan, Assistant Director of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Kacheilom Roberts Ndukwe, a secondary school teacher in Rivers State.
The Integrity Icon was started in 2014 by Accountability Lab in Nepal and moved to Liberia in 2015 has touched and celebrated icons in various countries like South Africa, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan. It has over the years spread rapidly to African countries and is powered by citizens in a quest to reward honesty among government officials and chart a new course in the public service.
The awardee, Erhabor while speaking to newsmen revealed that he made a vow when he got the job to stay incorruptible regardless of any system he finds himself and worked to raise the standard at all job positions assigned him.
He said, “The issue of my being here today started from when I entered the job, I took a strong vow, I knew my system thrive in corruption and I said to myself, ‘If I would in any way corrupt myself, I told the Lord don’t humiliate me in secret, show me on big time televisions like NTA, BBC, and CNN.’’
Erhabor who has been in the Police Force for over 30 years explained, “I got appointed into the force as a Cadet Inspector on the 2nd of April 1990. I was just 17 plus when I got into the academy and graduated at the age of 19 as an Inspector and confirmed.’’
Further, the incorruptible police officer narrated that there were times he was faced with life-threatening situations which he resiliently resisted, ‘’ the beautiful thing is that at the end of the day, I earned respect, I got confidence not only from my colleagues but also from outside forces,’’ Erhabor added.
Speaking on how the awardees were nominated, the Country Director of Accountability Lab, Odey Friday said, “We basically go out to source nominations from the citizens who tell us the people working in the public service that they know are doing amazing things, working for the good of the people they are serving.”
Friday explained that the selection process was done by independent judges from civil society groups, retired civil servants and governance experts.