ADDRESS BY RT. HON. YAKUBU DOGARA AT THE PUBLIC HEARING ORGANIZED BY HOUSE COMMITTEE ON ANTI-CORRUPTION
AN ADDRESS BY THE HON. SPEAKER, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, RT. HON. YAKUBU DOGARA ON THE OCCASION OF THE PUBLIC HEARING ORGANIZED BY HOUSE COMMITTEE ON ANTI-CORRUPTION, HELD ON THURSDAY 16TH NOVEMBER, 2017, IN CONFERENCE ROOM 028, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES NEW BUILDING, NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, ABUJA.
It is with great pleasure that l welcome you all to this Public Hearing on A Bill for An Act To Amend The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, Cap. 131, Laws Of The Federation of Nigeria, 2000 To Enhance and Strengthen The Commission’s Efficiency, Provide For Forfeiture To Be Made To The Original Sources Of The Crimes and Other Related Matters. (HB 819).
2. The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) was established to curb corrupt practices and other related offenses in the Civil Service and public service. The mandate of the ICPC is therefore broad but sector based. Other Anti-graft agencies like the EFCC were established to re enforce the fight against corrupt practices in the country including economic and financial crimes. It is however the general consensus that this effort is yet to yielded the much desired result, it is in order to fortify the legal framework backing this anti-corruption war that we are gathered here today.
3. The importance of this proposed amendment cannot be overemphasized especially with the on-going war against corruption in the country and against the backdrop of the ranking of the country in 2016 as number 136 from among 176 countries by Transparency International (a global civil society organization) and to further entrench the gains already achieved through the efforts of the Commission..
4. In 2001, Kofi Annan while canvasing for the need for a United Nation Convention Against Corruption stated that, “corruption hurts the poor disproportionately by diverting funds intended for development, undermining a government ability to provide basic services, feeding inequality and injustice and discouraging foreign investment and aid”. This is clearly the case in a developing country like Nigeria, where limited resources earmarked for infrastructural developments are either out rightly embezzled or otherwise depleted through kickbacks and over invoicing by government officials. This amendment is therefore aimed at deterring such corrupt public officers.
5. I should like to say that impactive punishment is such that deprives the criminal or the wrong doer, the benefit of the fruits of his crime, indeed better still that the punitive consequences should outweigh the anticipated benefits. Again justice is properly served where the incidence of penalty places squarely on the offender. The proposed amendments are directed at fine tuning the extant legislation to achieve some of these objectives.
6. As often stated, Public Hearing is a window provided by the legislature to afford stakeholders and the general public opportunity to participate in governance through law making. We believe that only when the people take ownership of law making and the resultant laws, will such laws stand the test of time.
7. On our part, we are committed to ensuring that we provide the requisite legal framework that will enhance the anti-corruption efforts of the present administration because we believe the successful prosecution of the war against corruption is imperative to rapid development as well as elimination of poverty and injustice.
8. I hereby urge you to make robust contributions that will not only enhance the work of the committee and the quality of resultant legislations but also improve the performance of ICPC and ultimately the image of the country.
9. May I therefore wish the Committee and our esteemed stakeholders’ fruitful deliberations as I formally declare the Public Hearing open.
10. God bless you all and bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.