Some prominent lawyers yesterday differed on the proposed merger of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC).
The lawyers gave their views in separate interviews with newsmen in Lagos.
Our correspondent reports that the merger of the two anti-corruption agencies was recommended to the Federal Government by the Presidential Committee on Rationalisation and Restructuring of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies.
Mr Onyekachi Ubani, Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja branch, said it was imperative for both agencies to be merged in order to become more effective.
Ubani, however, said the mere merger of the agencies would have no impact on the anti-corruption war if there was no political will by government to tackle corruption.
“I am still of the view that the political will of the government in power is crucial to the fight against corruption.
“It is the government that determines who is appointed as chairman of the agency and it needs to let it function without undue interference,” he added.
Another lawyer and former lawmaker, Mr Ehiogie-West Idahosa, said the merger was necessary due to the similarities of the functions of the EFCC and ICPC.
West-Idahosa, a former member of the Federal House of Representatives (Ovia North-East and Ovia South-West Constituency), said the merger would cut the cost of funding both agencies.
He said: “There have been a number of cases where both organisations had gone after the same suspect and in the end, missing out as a result of conflicting interest.
“So, merging them will make them more efficient in the campaign against corruption.”
A human rights activist, Mr Adetokunbo Mumuni, however, disagreed with the proposed merger, adding that both agencies had their specified constitutional duties.
“The ICPC deals with corrupt practices by public officials, while the EFCC has a broader mandate to fight economic crimes, both within the public and private sectors.
“It is not only in Nigeria that we have many anti-corruption agencies. In some countries, they have more than 15 agencies— each specialising on different areas,” he said.
Mumuni, who is the Executive Director of Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), a human rights group, therefore, urged the government to reconsider the proposed merger.
Similarly,the National Coordinator, Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP), a non-governmental organisation, Mr Chino Obiagwu, said the government should retain both agencies.
Obiagwu told newsmen that the merger was unnecessary because the EFCC and ICPC have been playing a complementary roles in the fight against corruption.
He said, “They have been complementing themselves over the years and this has brought a healthy competition between both agencies in the anti-corruption campaign.”
Obasanjo, Abdulsalami, Sultan, Others Brainstorm On Insecurity
Rising insecurity and agitations for secession by different ethnic groups across Nigeria has attracted the attention of elder statesmen and other national leaders to a meeting in Abuja.
The meeting was organised by Interfaith Initiatives for Peace jointly led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and the National Peace Committee chaired by Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).
Reporters were barred from taking part in the closed-door meeting, expected to proffer solutions to the ongoing security challenges threatening the peace and unity of the country.
It was also an exploratory meeting on pressing issues of national unity, security, peace, integration, economic revitalisation and development, women and youth welfare and general progress.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd); Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; Tor Tiv, Prof Ortese Iorzua James Ayatse, Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan; President General (Ohanaeze Ndigbo), Prof George Obiozor; and Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo; were all in attendance.
Others sighted at the meeting are President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; CAN General Secretary, Joseph Daramola; JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede; Etsu Nupe, Yahya Abubakar; former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, among several political and traditional rulers at the meeting.
Elder statesmen, Chief Edwin Clark, also attended the event at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, but could not participate in the meeting because he could not climb the staircase to the meeting room.
Fighting Corruption Difficult In Democratic Setting, Buhari Laments
President Muhammadu Buhari says fighting corruption in democratic setting is a difficult task to accomplish.
The president disclosed this during an interview with Arise Television which was televised, yesterday.
According to him, the war against corruption has not been easy for him since he became a democratically elected president six years ago.
He, however, stressed that his administration had succeeded in easing out corrupt public officials without making noise about it.
Buhari recalled that much was achieved in the fight against corruption when he was military Head of State in the early 80s “when a lot of people were sent to prisons before I was also booted out”.
The president frowned at the way and manner local government system was being managed, saying the local government administration was almost non-existent in the country.
He cited situation where state governors continued to starve the local governments of funds saying “in a situation where N300million is allocated to local government and they are given N100million is not fair”.
On activities of bandits and kidnappers particularly in the North-West and North-Central zones, Buhari said he had given the police and Armed Forces the instructions to be ruthless with bandits and vandals terrorising innocent citizens across the country.
He stated that he had told the security agencies to treat bandits and other criminals in the “the language they understand.
“Problem in the north-west; you have people over there stealing each other’s cattle and burning each other’s villages.
“Like I said, we are going to treat them in the language they understand.
“We have given the police and the military the power to be ruthless. You watch it in a few weeks’ time there will be difference.
”Because we told them if we keep people away from their farm, we are going to starve. And the government can’t control the public.
“If you allow hunger, the government is going to be in trouble and we don’t want to be in trouble.
“We are already in enough trouble. So, we warn them sooner than later you’ll see the difference,’’ he said.
On farmers/herders clashes, the president said the problem had persisted because old cattle routes and grazing areas had been violated by development, adding that those who had taken over such traditional arrangements would be dispossessed.
On the fight against insurgency, Buhari dismissed the assertion that majority of Boko Haram members were foreigners.
According to him, the majority of the Boko Haram members are Nigerians, saying this was further corroborated by Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum.
The president stated that his administration had done a lot to fight the terrorists and insurgents but the problem in the “North-East is very difficult.”
Igboho Declares June 12 Day Of Protest, Warns Buhari
Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has declared June 12 as day of protest for Yoruba nation agitators.
The self-acclaimed Yoruba activist said the agitators will hold ‘peaceful rallies’ across the South-West region on Saturday, June 12.
Igboho, who spoke through his spokesman, Olayomi Koiki, in a live video programme aired, last Wednesday night, called on South-West governors to cooperate with the peaceful protesters during the exercise.
He warned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration not to attack the agitators.
He said, “Let us warn the Federal Government that if there is bloodshed this weekend, the international community is watching, if the military kills any Nigerian this weekend, it is going to be very hot.
“The Yoruba nation rally will go ahead in every part of Yoruba land and the rest of the country where it will hold.
“Red alarm will begin on Friday. People should stock up food Items from Friday night.
“We are not backing down this weekend; we are ready to take back what belongs to us.”
He also enjoined agitators to ‘fast’ on Friday.
This is coming after NANS under the leadership of its National President, Comrade Sunday Asefon, had declared June 12 as National Day of peaceful protest to call on the government to act decisively towards addressing insecurity.
- Business4 days ago
‘OPEC Member Countries Lost $trn To Oil Price Plunge In Two Years’
- Politics4 days ago
Bill To Unbundle NIPOST Passes 3rd Reading In Senate
- Business4 days ago
Insecurity May Cause Food Shortages In Nigeria – AFAN
- Politics4 days ago
LG Polls: Lagos PDP Concludes Primaries
- Politics4 days ago
Electoral Act: Rumbles In Senate Over Card Reader, Results’ Electronic Transmission
- Niger Delta4 days ago
Yenagoa Law School: Ijaw Group Commends Wike’s Magnanimity
- Politics4 days ago
Zamfara Gov Reinstates Three Commissioners
- Opinion4 days ago
Governance And Peer Review Mechanism