The Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) has fully weighed the pros and cons of the recommendations of the Oronsaye Committee to the Federal on the scrapping or merging of the existing anti-graft bodies in Nigeria. The Report is currently being studied by another Committee for advice to the government on the matter.
After our full study and analysis of the monumental corruption in the system and at all the tiers and organs of the Government of the Federation, not minding the existence of the present anti-graft agencies, CLO reasons that it will be suicidal and against the will and interest of our country and people to either scrap EFCC or ICPC or both, or merge them with any other government agencies or institutions or commissions.
The allegations and counter allegations of corruption rocking the House of Representatives in recent times has explained why these agencies should be strengthen and even more established, not scrapped or merged.
CLO reasons that in view of the ear tingling corruption in our society today coupled with the recent Report of the United States of America on Nigeria which indicts our country of gross corruption and abuse of human rights, it will sound irrational and insane for anybody to advise the government to scrap or merge the anti-corruption bodies. In the stead, CLO prays the Federal Government to give more powers to these anti-graft agencies so as to strengthen them to do their work without interference by any organ or officer of government, including the President.
Furthermore, we urge the National Assembly to make laws that would encourage the anti-graft agencies to do their job without fear or favour by making them completely independent. CLO also enjoins the NASS to remove the Immunity Clause in the 1999 Constitution that has helped certain public office holders to plunder our country and pauperise her citizens.
Similarly, the proposal of the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Musdapher, to set up special Courts to try corruption cases in order to speedy trial of corrupt persons is a welcome development. CLO salutes this noble idea and enjoins the CJ to set up the courts without further delay. These options, in our thinking, are better, brighter and more like it than the recommendations of Oronsaye committee to oust these agencies.
CLO calls on Nigerians, civil society organisations, workers, the church, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the Mosque, diplomatic institutions and friends of Nigeria to stand up against Oronsaye committee recommendations and prevail on the Federal Government to drop the idea.
To also ensure that these agencies do their jobs creditably, strict oversight functions should be observed on them to ensure respect for the rule of law and due process and to retrain them from attaining the status of monster institutions.
Let the anti-graft agencies be.
Ibuchukwu Ohabuenyi Ezike,