“Laws are a beautiful thing on paper, but painful when no bribe can ease their turn” – Paolo Bacigalupi, American science fiction and fantasy writer
Corruption is making illegal payments or offering anything of value to people in official positions with the intention of inducing or rewarding them. Anyone in power or in a position of authority who acts dishonestly and fraudulently is said to be corrupt. An individual or public office holder who accepts or receives bribes is corrupt. He who is morally degenerate and weak is also corrupt. Both acts of bribery and corruption are intertwined and can be used interchangeably. While bribery can include improper use of office, embezzlement and embezzlement of public funds, bribery is limited to giving or accepting gifts or rewards to induce action. Corruption can be private or commercial depending on how it is practiced.
Both of these illegal actions are rampant among public officials and people in positions of authority. However, the focus is always on those who receive bribes and not on those who induce or offer them. Meanwhile, the law frowns on both parties participating in the process involved to complete corruption. Both the giver and the receiver of the bribe are liable under the law. Most people generally assume that it is the person receiving a bribe who breaks the law, not the person giving it. Such an assumption is wrong and misleading because both parties involved in exchanging bribes are both lawbreakers. It takes two to tango, so Corruption requires two parts to complete. The bribery process only becomes complete when one party requests or demands it before performing an action or the other party issues an incitement to action.
Inducement and gratification are also important to mention in order to explain bribery and corruption in a broad and broad context. An inducement given or offered to bring out a desired action is called inducement while gratification is a pleasurable act to appreciate a good deed done in turn. These two words are completely different but could be misused or misinterpreted in a discussion involving bribery and bribery.
Certain actions and inactions can be considered corrupt depending on the context. Corruption is not limited to embezzlement, damage to integrity, deterioration of virtue or loss of moral principle, it also means not doing the right thing. An individual who does not do the right thing can be called corrupt. The action then becomes bribery when the person waits to be induced by a gift before performing their legal obligation or circumventing and circumventing due process.
The effects of corruption on a society underscore the urgent need to stem this ugly tide before it becomes a norm in our society. Corruption, among many other negative impacts, erodes trust in leadership, widens the gap between rich and poor, leads to unequal distribution of resources, frustration and untold hardship among citizens of a country .
Most of the law enforcement agencies in Lagos State are usually the recipients of bribery and corruption allegations. The reason is not far-fetched, as law enforcement is exposed to bribery inducers and offenders who tempt them with appetizing gifts in order to circumvent punishment for their offence. Some of these law enforcement agencies are Lagos State Environmental and Special Offenses (Task Force), Lagos Neighborhood Security Corps, Vehicle Inspection Service, Enforcement Agency Lagos State Buildings, Rapid Response Brigade and Lagos State Traffic Management Authority among others.
In order to show that LASTMA spares no effort to fight corruption among its officials, some departments specifically act as checks and balances to their activities on the road. The Agency’s control and surveillance unit is responsible for controlling the activities of agents on the road. Also, in order to ensure that formal complaints from road users against LASTMA men and officers are entertained and properly dealt with, LASTMA General Manager, Mr. Bolaji Oreagba, has recently requested a mutual working collaboration with the Public Complaints Commission. In Mr. Oreagba’s words, “We stand ready to cooperate with the Commission in investigating any complaints from the public and sharing information if necessary.” The Managing Director added that, for prompt action, motorists or individuals should channel their complaints through LASTMA’s official and social media platforms. The LASTMA boss therefore urged all road users to abide by the state’s Transport Sector Reform Act 2018 as anyone caught on the wrong side of the law will face the wrath of the law .
These platforms and counters are open to all motorists and other road users to report any case of extortion or violation of their rights. Many LASTMA personnel have been dealt with by the agency for various offenses in accordance with applicable laws if investigations have found them guilty with penalties ranging from demotion, suspension to termination of appointments. It is important that members of the motoring public take advantage of the opportunity provided by LASTMA’s social media handles to report misconduct by any officer in the line of duty. LASTMA Connect, a radio program airing Tuesdays at 10:15 a.m. on Lagos Traffic Radio 96.1 FM, is another avenue where millions of Lagos road users can file complaints live or report any offences.
Generally, public office holders and civil servants fiddle with other dutiful and uncorrupt government officials, as the general public sees them as the same. The fight against bribery and corruption would be in vain if the authorities did not increase the punishment of anyone caught in the act.
A good way to naturally stop corruption is when offenders no longer offer to pay their exit by bribe and, on the other hand, when the traffic manager refuses the inducement. Violators should refrain from offering bribes to traffic personnel even if they ask for it. If the unethical act of corruption, an action that involves two parties (giver and receiver), is not nipped in the bud, the morality of the whole society can be endangered.
Kayode Ojewale of LASTMA Public Affairs and Enlightenment Department writes via [email protected]