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C’River, Nasarawa, Bauchi plan anti-corruption agencies after Lagos

C’River, Nasarawa, Bauchi plan anti-corruption agencies after Lagos

C’River, Nasarawa, Bauchi plan anti-corruption agencies after Lagos image

Some state governments, including Cross River, Bauchi, and Nasarawa are also planning to establish their own anti-corruption agencies, taking a cue from Lagos State which about two weeks ago signed a new law mandating anti-graft agencies like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to hand over corruption cases to the state government.

However, Ekiti, Kogi, Enugu and Imo states rejected the idea of creating parallel anti-graft agencies, while Rivers, Gombe, Adamawa, and Delta states said they had yet to decide whether to create their own anti-graft agencies.

According to the legislation titled, ‘Lagos State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission Law,’ signed by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu about two weeks ago, a new anti-corruption agency will have the exclusive rights to investigate financial crimes and corruption cases involving the finances of the Lagos State Government.

Currently, three former Lagos governors, Bola Tinubu, Babatunde Fashola and Akinwunmi Ambode, are said to be under investigation by the EFCC.

The anti-graft agency is also investigating the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, who helped facilitate the passage of the law.

But Section 13(3) of the new Lagos law reads, “The (anti-graft) commission shall upon the commencement of this law take over the investigation of all anti-corruption and financial crime cases involving the finances and assets of Lagos State Government being investigated by any other agency.”

According to the law, the commission shall have the power to investigate any person or administrative action taken by any ministry, department, agency or parastatal of the state government or any local government. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Meanwhile, Kano State also has the Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission, as well as the Anti-Corruption Institute, to investigate graft cases in the state.

Following the examples of Lagos and Kano states, the Cross River State Government has also said it is considering establishing a parallel anti-corruption agency.

The state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Tanko Ashang, disclosed this in a chat with one of our correspondents in Calabar.

Ashang said, “Cross River is considering it. It is in the pipeline. We want to be sure of funding. By the next budget cycle, it will be established if it is approved.

“Setting up such an agency is in the constitution within the concurrent list. State governors have the power to set it up.

“The state Governor, Prof Ben Ayade, has done a lot of industrialisation. So in the future, there will be a need for compliance, monitoring and evaluation of processes.”

Also, Bauchi State said it planned to set up an anti-corruption agency soon. The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Bauchi State, Mr Yakubu Kirfi, said, “In due course and looking at the exigencies at the moment, with particular regards to the way corrupt practices are manifesting, I am very certain that the government under the leadership of Governor Bala Mohammed is going to consider establishing an anti-corruption agency in Bauchi State.

“This will be to replicate what is presently being employed in Kano and Lagos states. I want to assure you that we will make that recommendation.”

Kirfi said the reason for establishing such an agency would be to tackle endemic corruption in Ministries, Departments and Agencies in the state.

“The presence of that kind of agency will go a long way in helping to stem the tide of corruption which we are presently witnessing in the state,” he said.

Nasarawa State also said plans were in the pipeline to establish an anti-corruption agency in the state to tackle financial crimes and other corrupt practices among public office holders.

The state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Abdulkarim Kana, disclosed this to one of our correspondents in Lafia on Thursday.

Kana, however, said until the state was able to establish its own anti-corruption agency, the state would continue to operate under the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission Acts to fight corruption.

He said, “The ICPC Act is applicable to states, and when states in the country pass their own laws, then the corruption investigations within the states will be restricted only under the state anti-corruption laws. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

“But as long as we have not passed ours, it means that the ICPC Act will be applicable to us and that is what is happening now. We are seriously considering the establishment of an anti-corruption agency but the most important thing is to ensure that those basic structures that will ensure transparency in government are established.”

However, some state governments spurned the idea of creating parallel anti-graft agencies.

One of the states, Kogi, said it was satisfied with the existing anti-graft ones established by the Federal Government.

The state Commissioner for Information, Kingsley Fanwo, said, “As a state government, we do not see that as a necessity. There are federal agencies fighting graft and we are satisfied with their operations.”

Also, Ekiti State said it was working on strengthening existing anti-graft institutions.

Ekiti State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Olawale Fapohunda, said on Friday that the state had no plan for the establishment of its own anti-corruption agency.

He said, “We are not planning to set up such an agency. Our focus is on keeping the cost of governance low.

“We are instead working on strengthening existing accountability institutions by enacting enabling laws and providing the human and material resources that will enable them to work effectively and efficiently.”

Likewise, Enugu State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Chief Melitus Eze, said there were already adequate laws, both state and federal, to tackle corruption cases in the state.

He said, “There are existing laws dealing with corruption and they are adequate. We prosecute anybody found liable for corrupt practices in our regular court. We are not contemplating creating any agency for fighting corruption.”

Imo State government also said there was no plan at the moment to establish an anti-corruption commission.

The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, said, “We don’t need to copy any state in establishing an anti-graft agency. For now, there is no plan in sight for that. That Lagos is doing so does not mean we have to do it.”

However, some states said they had yet to decide on creating their own anti-corruption agencies.

In Adamawa State, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Jingi Afraimu, said the state was likely to take a cue from Lagos and Kano states. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

“It is not unlikely. We will study the constitution to see if it is a thing that can be done by the state. It may not be a bad thing to do,” he said.

“If it is not on the exclusive list, then any state can do it if it wants. However, we will study the situation and see how viable it would be,” he added.

The Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Gombe State, Zubair Umar, said there were currently no plans until there were discussions with the governor.

Asked if there was a possibility of establishing the agency in the future, he replied, “Until I discuss with the governor.”

The Rivers State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof Zacchaeus Adongor, said, “Such an issue is not before the State Executive Council, so I cannot speak on it. When such a matter is before the exco, we shall address it accordingly. For now, it would be speculative to say anything.”

Delta State also said it had yet to consider the move.

The state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Peter Mrakpor (SAN), said only the governor could take such a decision.

By Ada Wodu, Armstrong Bakam, Collins Sunday, Gbenga Odogun, Abiodun Nejo, Raphael Ede, Chidiebube Okeoma, Dennis Naku, Hindi Livinus, Chima Azubuike and Matthew Ochei

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