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National Anti-Corruption Commission - No Hiding Place for the Corrupt (Reviewed, 30th Mar 2001) Tell your friends about this page! Email it to them.

Justice Mustapha Akanbi, chairman of the National Anti-Corruption Commission, NACC is aware of the arduous task before the body. In the wake of the damning verdict by the Transparency International that Nigeria is the most corrupt nation in the world, Akanbi and other officials know that this is a war the country must win.

The road ahead is however very rough. The profligacy of the military era and the way graft was promoted to almost an official state policy by these past military rulers have made corruption almost second nature in the country. "Most Nigerians do not believe that there is somebody who is not corrupt." Laments Akanbi.

The task of the commission is to reverse the trend. Fortunately majority of Nigerians, tired of the persistent label of their country as a bribe-loving nation, seems to be ready to support the commission. Just days after its establishment, petitions Relating to corrupt practices are being received by the commission. Akanbi says the Commission will investigate those within its purview while others will be referred to appropriate quarters for appropriate actions. The chairman has also asked Nigerians to give information on corrupt practices to enable the commission perform its task. And those who think they will get away with their past misdeeds may be wrong after all. Akanbi says that the law setting up the commission will be applied retroactively. In effect the commission has the power to investigate cases of corruption, which happened before its inauguration.

President Olusegun Obasanjo has also added a new dimension to the fight against corruption. The democratic civilian president has warned public officials to play by the rules since anybody who criminally enriches himself will be brought before the law. "Nobody, nobody, I repeat nobody is above the law. If you commit any criminal offence, I will not arrest you, the inspector general of police will do that". The President warned at a public forum. Obasanjo has continued to maintain that there will not be any sacred cow in the fight against corruption. In a way his administration has shown the way by asking the country’s petroleum agency, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation to publish its annual report and to revert to public tender for contractors. This is meant mainly to discourage insiders’ abuse and also make the country’s business environment attractive to foreign investors.

The anti-corruption stance of the administration is already yielding some positive results. Ghali Umar Na’Abba, the speaker of the country’s House of Representatives had to employ all his political skills and those of his allies, in the latter part of 2000 to stay in his job over his alleged corrupt practices. Some members of the House petitioned the Inspector General of Police detailing allegations of fraud against Na’Abba and four other principal officers of the House. In what is clearly a departure from the norm, the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP investigated the allegation. The police even formally invited Na’Abba for questioning. The speaker declined the invitation and went to court. Ordinarily the Allegation would have been swept under the carpet but for the anti-corruption stance of the administration.

Since those who come to equity must come with clean hands, the House of Representatives is also probing the "Excess" of the executive. The minister of the Federal Capital Territory was summoned to explain the criteria used in buying houses, which ran into millions of naira for top officials of the Obasanjo administration. From all indications the era of "anything goes" is gradually receding in Nigeria.

Contact Details:

Plot 802, Zone A9, 
Constitution Avenue, 
Central Area, Abuja. 
Fax: 09-5238810.

Related Stories:

"Give Localities Autonomy of Their Resources" Ishola Williams - Part 2 (55kb) (Posted 13th May, 2002)

"Give Localities Autonomy of Their Resources" Ishola Williams - Part 1 (52kb) (Posted 6th May, 2002)

This body is also known as the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Offences Commission.

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