Eleven-year-old Naomi Oloyode will represent Nigeria at “The Education for Justice (E4J) Initiative High-Level Conference on Corruption” in Vienna, Austria.
Ms Ibukunoluwa Ijaopo, Programme Associate of Step Up for Social Development and Empowerment in Nigeria (Step up Nigeria), made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.
She said that Oloyode, a JSS 1 student of the Battle Axe Academy, Lugbe, Abuja was selected following her brilliant performance in a debate on “How to Combat Corruption in Nigeria.”
Ijaopo, who spoke at the school’s 11th Speech and Prize Giving Day and Graduation, said Oloyode was first identified as Step up Nigeria Anti-Corruption champion before she was selected to represent Nigeria to speak on corruption at the conference.
She said that the conference which would hold at the Vienna International Centre between Oct. 7 and Oct. 9, was being organised by the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Ijaopo explained that the E4J was an innovative and comprehensive educational initiative aimed at building the capacity of educators to equip the future generation with a better understanding and ability to address issues that could undermine the rule of law.
She said that the objective of E4J High-Level Conference was to bring together more than 200 stakeholders from both the education and justice discipline.
According to her, the event will allow policy makers from Ministries of Education and Justice, educators and academia to build bridges and propose innovative ways to empower the future generation of change makers.
She added that Step up Nigeria was poised to bringing up children that would speak passionately on anti-corruption
“We are sure that with programmes like this, the revolution against anti-corruption in the country has started,
“When children make up their minds against corruption early in life, there would be a better country, the Battle Axe Academy bought into our initiative and today we are were we are,” Ijaopo said.
She described teachers and the management of the Battle Axe Academy as very cooperating, saying that while some schools were hostile to officials from her organisation, the school was very receptive.
According to Ijaopo, Step Up Nigeria is an NGO with a creative team of building bridges for improved governance to tackle corruption and improve service delivery.
“This organisation is using anti corruption story books and other innovative approaches to teach children about the impact of corruption in schools and households across Nigeria.
“One of our objectives is to identify young anti-corruption champions at primary and junior secondary level who will help in educating people about the dangers of corruption.
“The young anti-corruption champions will be mentored on how to achieve collective action among young people in the fight against corruption,”she said.
Oloyode, while reacting to the development, said “my heart was beating when I was called out, I was shocked to hear the announcement, but am so happy now that I made my parents proud.”
Mrs Oloyode, the excited mother of the student thanked God for making her daughter to excel.
Mrs Kehinde Fasubaa, the Proprietress of the school told NAN that she was excited by the development, adding that her goal was to ensure that her students were ahead of their peers.
Speaking on the collaboration between her school and Step up Nigeria, Fasubaa said “we didn’t know they will come back after the first visit, but to our surprise, they came back.
“On the second visit, they asked our students to write an essay on corruption and then there was a debate on corruption, even without prior notification and our students came out top and today, we are where we are,” she said.
Mr Sanni Razak, the school’s administrator said getting children involved in the fight against corruption early in life, was critical to addressing the menace.
Razak said that the country would be corruption free in the nearest future if the children were brought into the anti-corruption crusade early in life.
Razak said the goal of the school was to make the students pace setters in the future, and to inculcate the value of decency and integrity in them.
This, he said, would ensure that they remained honest, disciplined and upright in life.
He added that the school in collaboration with Step up Nigeria and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had established an anti- corruption club in the school.
NAN reports that some staff of the school and students were presented awards for standing out and for academic excellence during the session.
Among them were Divine Mogbede, Shaba Ayomikun, Sobande Oludayo, Daniel Mercy, Theresa Archirga, Achir Emmanuel, and Sobande Oluyemisi among others.