CISLAC condemns ‘unlawful’ suspension of Kano Public Complaints Chairman

By Chimezie Godfrey

The Civil Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has condemned the suspension of the
Kano Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission Chairman, Muhuyi Magaji Rimingado, by the State House of Assembly.

The Executive Director, CISLAC, which is also the National Chapter of Transparency International (TI) in Nigeria, Auwal Rafsanjani disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday.

Rafsanjani stressed that the suspension was unlawful. According to him, coming at a time when there have been calls for the independence of anti-corruption institutions and more accountability at subnational levels, this sends another concern about the state’s
commitments to combat corruption.

He expressed disappointed at what he termed the self-serving position of the State Assembly—which has the fundamental mandate to protect and allow citizens’ interest to prevail in its legislative activities, flouting provisions of the rule of law and procedures.

Rafsanjani added that this combined with other reported cases involving outright disregards for the rule of Law and procedures raises public concerns on the level of credibility, integrity and independence maintained by Kano State House of Assembly especially.

He noted that the the provisions of Sections 6 of the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission (Amendment) Law 2010, gives only the Governor the to remove the Chairman or any member of the Commission, while acting upon a resolution supported by the State Assembly on the inability to discharge effectively the functions of his office or for any other reason.

He therefore called on the Kano state House of Assembly to reverse the suspension in to redeem its integrity and avoid paving the way for a bad precedent.

He said,”We are not unaware that suspension of Magaji has been triggered by the reported
undemocratic political attempt instigated by some politicians to undermine independence and integrity of the Commission; and his earlier rejection of an illegally-driven direct posting of staff from the Office of Kano State Accountant General; as against Section 15(1)(g-h) of the Law establishing the Commission, which enshrines such within the functions of the Commission; and the provision of Section 8, stating that “In exercising its powers under the Law, the Commission shall not be subjected to the direction and Control of any authority.”

“While we have been following with keen interest the competence, commitment, and progress of the commission in the war against corruption and injustice that have to yield appreciable impact in the state, we observed from the politically motivated suspension, effort to divert the Commission’s attention and frighten its operatives from the progressive struggles at digging deep into- and uprooting major corruption cases in the state.

“We are disturbed that despite various pledges and effort by the present administration to
combat corruption at all levels, Anti-Corruption operatives and institutions are seriously endangered and sabotaged at sub-national level with deeply rooted political resistance and
unchecked display of rascality.

“We, therefore, call on the Kano State House of Assembly to redeem its integrity and
reconsider its decision on Magaji’s suspension.

“The failure of the Kano State Assembly to
retract the suspension would have grave consequences and indeed backpedal the state progress in the Anti-Corruption fight and pave way for a bad precedent.

“We demand openness and transparency in further legislative activities that may involve any
resolution or action against Magaji; through a well-attended Public Hearing to enable
appropriate participation and accommodate positions of civil groups.”

Rafsanjani encouraged all operatives of the Commission never to succumb to threat or intimidation
by any person or group, but instead strengthen the fight against corruption through enhanced
strategies as enabled within legal provisions.

He also urged all well-meaning Nigerians and the media to kick against an unjustified decision or
resolution at all levels to frustrate the on-going Anti-Corruption fight in the country.