The National Assembly has been called upon by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) to bring out the reports of investigation of corrupt practices that the law-makers conducted since 1999.
This request made by SERAP is part of the Freedom of Information (FoI) requests to theSpeaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila and the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.
In the request that was duly signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, and dated July 25, 2020, the association urged the legislative council to “disclose the number and details of its public hearings and corruption probes that have resulted in any indictment of suspects, and to name such suspects”.
The reports, in SERAP’s opinion, should be forwarded to forwarded to the right anti-corruption agencies for proper actions to be taken so as to know if there is sufficient admissible evidence to pursue prosecution.
SERAP also opines that the only way to curb corruption which is killing the nation gradually is to ensure that the cost of engaging in corrupt acts is higher that the rewards.
“This can only be accomplished by making public the reports and pursuing public accountability for corrupt acts. Doing so would also give Nigerians greater confidence that their lawmakers can use their constitutional oversight functions to address corruption in Nigeria.”
Lawmakers are also requested in another request to stop being involved directly in the execution of projects by ministries, departments and agencies(MDAs) to ensure proper and effective exercise of their oversight functions, including investigations of corruption allegations, such as those involving the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).
The FoI requests, read in part: “We also urge you to urgently use the opportunity of the ongoing public hearings and corruption probes to influence Nigeria’s anti-corruption agenda, including by immediately amending section 52 of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act on independent counsel for corruption.
“Section 52 requires the Chief Justice of Nigeria to authorise an independent counsel to investigate any allegation of corruption against high level public officials, and to report his/her findings to the National Assembly or appropriate house of assembly.
‘The proposed amendment should include additional requirements, beyond merely reporting to lawmakers, that would allow the independent counsel to use the findings of any investigation as a basis to pursue effective prosecution of corruption cases without any authorisation by the executive or the National Assembly”, it appended.