Civil Society Organisations have frowned at what they described as malfunctioning anti-corruption agencies in Nigeria saying their failure would hinder the fight against corruption.
According to them, the absence of substantial chairmen for the agencies is limiting their capacity to perform. Specifically, the Executive Director, Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), David Ugolor said the offices of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) are under acting chairmen, adding, “this ought not to be.”
Speaking at a forum on ‘Trending Corruption Issues in Nigeria’ organised by ActionAid, Ugolor expressed dismay that the development would not allow the ‘acting chairmen’ to perform their duties as expected.
He said, “The current absence of substantive chairmen in the anti-corruption agencies is not helping matters. In the EFCC for instance, Ibrahim Magu has been the acting chairman for a long time. This is not good. You don’t expect him to do more than he is doing because of this position. He is only putting on his best.
“This is what I zero down to the issue of political will. President Buhari will be judged at the end on what he is able to do to strengthen these institutions. So how do you say a president has political will if the anti-corruption agencies in which he will tackle corruption are not with substantive leaderships?
“There is no way that can work. Buhari himself cannot fight corruption; it is the anti-corruption agencies that are saddled with these responsibilities. If there are no substantive chairmen how do you fight corruption? What signal are you sending to the world? We need to reform the judicial system. You saw what has happened to the judicial system in the last few months. That is not good for the country in tackling corruption.
“If you look at the demography of Nigeria today, the youths constitute more than 50 percent of the population and they are victims of these corruption practices. That is why those of us working on this project see this as an opportunity to strengthen the corruption work in Nigeria and build an alliance because we need collective action.
Also, the CSOs also commended the federal government for including citizens to participate in monitoring recovered assets.
The CSOs however said there was the need to scrutinize government spending to ensure transparency and accountability. They also urged the National Assembly to urgently pass the Proceeds of Crime Bill into law.
The CSOs which participated in the dialogue included Action Aid Nigeria, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and Centre for Communication and Social Impact, Women Advocate Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC) and Media Rights Agenda (MRA).
Culled from The Guardian of Nigeria 2nd May 2018