Demands public hearing, involvement of CSOs in process

By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja

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

This was contained in a statement signed by the Executive Director, CISLAC, Auwal Ibrahim Rafsanjani, describing the suspension as a baseless allegation and unconstitutional.

According to CISLAC, the provisions of Sections 6 of the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission (Amendment) Law 2010, gives only the Governor the power 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.

It added that action by the State Assembly is in “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.” 

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The statement reads in part, “The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) which is the National Chapter of Transparency International (TI) in Nigeria received the news of the unlawful suspension of the Kano Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission Chairman, Muhuyi Magaji Rimingado, by the State House of Assembly on a baseless allegation backed by an unconstitutional process.

“Coming at a time when we are calling for the independence of Anti-Corruption institutions and more accountability at sub-national levels, this sends another concern about the state’s commitments to combat corruption.

“We are disappointed at 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.

“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 continued 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.”

However, the statement also made some demands on the matter, which include public hearing, involvement of Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, and transparency.

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

“We encourage 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.

“We urge 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”, it added.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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