The 2019 Integrity Icon Award has been presented to Francis Erhabor, the divisional police officer of Itam, Akwa Ibom state police command. Mr. Erhabor was presented with the award for rejecting a N6 million bribe to compromise the security system while he was a pipeline commander in Edo.
The award which in annual event by the Accountability Lab in partnership with Luminate, MacArthur and Ford Foundation claims it aims to “to name and fame honest government officials, thereby encouraging integrity in the public service”.
Mr Francis presented with the award alongside four other awardees
The police officer who has been in the Nigerian police force for over thirty years narrated how the event took place and his reaction to it. He said:
“I almost compromised if not for the mercies of the Lord. The story that is making frontline today that has brought me here was when I had just N800 in my pocket and I was a pipeline commander in Edo state, where I had worked for close to three to four years,” he said.
“My actual allowance was just N37,500 from the government, which was not coming when due. And I had a few persons who dangled N1.5million to me and they were to be giving me N6million every week. And if I were to be there for 30 days, that is N24 million.
“I eventually spent more than three years. But because of that decision I took before I entered the force because I had taken an oath that the day I compromise myself, Lord just embarrass me, show me on TV. Make me stick to the N37,500 that was not forthcoming.
“It didn’t go without persecution and agonism, sometimes my life was threatened, but the beautiful thing is that at the end of the day, I earned respect, I earned trust, got confidence not only from my colleagues but also from outside forces and it has been fun because the outcome has paid off.”