National Assembly frustrating anti-corruption war – Falana

OrderPaperToday – Renowned human right activist, Femi Falana has accused the National Assembly of frustrating the anti-corruption efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari by refusing to pass relevant bills.

Falana also said the President is fighting the corruption battle alone and is unable to galvanize the support of State Governors and the lawmakers.

Falana stated these on Tuesday in Abuja at a National Stakeholders’ Summit on Whistle-blowing organised by the African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL).

Falana noted that even though the whistleblower policy is commendable in the fight against corruption, there is a need to have a legal framework to protect whistleblowers from harassment and intimidation.

He said: “Since 2000 when the Anti-corruption war started under President Obasanjo, it has  been a war prosecuted by the Federal Government alone, currently the APC controls 21 states and majority in the National Assembly but it will surprise you that none of the APC states are fighting corruption.

“The National Assembly has frustrated all anti-corruption bills drafted and submitted by the Executive to the National Assembly.

“Therefore we must appeal to the National Assembly to pass the whistle blower protection law, although it was passed reluctantly in 2015 but the former President who couldn’t differentiate between stealing and corruption refused to sign it into law.”

Falana stressed that the President must take urgent step to rescue the anti-corruption fight by ensuring that credibility is not lost.

According to Falana “we must recognize the limitation of the anti-corruption fight by this administration; as it stands the President is the Commander-in-Chief without troops behind him, if you watch closely, the bulk of the corruption allegations are coming from the villa.”

He added that for the whistleblower policy to be genuine, an autonomous body comprising of accredited Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and aided by anti-graft agencies be setup to take the unit out of the Ministry of Finance.

Falana also appealed to the government not to channel the recovered funds into the budget but rather have them managed by an independent body with the funds used specifically to revitalize schools, roads and hospitals.

Earlier, Chido Onumah, Coordinator of AFRICMIL, said that as part of its accountability and governance initiative, it inaugurated the Corruption Anonymous project (CORA), which is aimed at engaging civil society and Nigerians in tackling corruption.

“The CORA project, which is supported by the John D and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, is aimed at creating awareness about whistle-blowing and making Nigerians see it as a tool for reducing corruption,’’ he said.

The Chairman of the summit, Nuhu Ribadu in his opening remark commended the National Assembly for the Whistleblowers Protection bill and urged the lawmakers to speed up its passage of the bill.

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Author: Bakare Majeed