Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, has identified rivalry between the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and anti-graft agencies as one of the hindrances to the current war against corruption in Nigeria.
Falana, who stated this at the “2nd Forum: Anti-corruption Situation Room” in Abuja yesterday called for more robust collaborations among all government ministries, agencies and parastatals in order to win the war against corruption.
While speaking on the theme of the event, “Presidential Panel for Recovery of Federal Government Properties : A Review of the Law, Its Mandate and the Implications for Anti-corruption”, Falana said the panel is legal and so is its activities.
He noted that since the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Code of Conduct Bureau and the Independent Corrupt Practices, and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) have continually been subdued through executive and legislature disagreement, it became necessary to activate the panel by the current administration.
He challenged anyone who is not okay with the panel and its activities to go to court and seek redress.
Also speaking at the function, the chairman, Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property, Okoi Obono Obla said, “Although, corruption is a serious world-wide phenomenon, but it is most destructive in emerging countries like Nigeria with fragile economy and in societies that fail to understand that the nation is a common property of its citizens; this has led to failure of institutions of government to deliver the basics of life such as healthcare, education, infrastructure and food.
This is even more devastating when there is a culture of impunity. In this circumstance, crimes by the powerful or by subordinates who enjoy their protection are often not prosecuted.
“Corruption can manifest in the different sectors of the economy as it breeds inequality of income and wipes off the middle class as the rich get richer and the poor get poorer thereby weakening the societal structure.
“It is on this basis that one of the oldest Anticorruption laws was enacted in 1984 with effect from 31st December 1983 by the then General Muhammadu Buhari when he took over power as the Military Head of State. After leaving government this law was swept under the carpet to give room to more corruption.
“In his second coming as the democratically elected president of Nigeria and in line with his administration’s change mantra, the oldest Anticorruption law was exhumed in August 2017, giving birth to The Special Presidential Investigation Panel (SPIP) for Recovery of Public Property; charged with the mandate to investigate the assets of Public officers involved in corrupt practices and recover public properties acquired by such persons pursuant to the provisions of the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provision) Act Cap RA, Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 2004. “