By Austin Erameh
The Chairman House Committee of Financial Crimes, Hon. Kayode Oladele has said sustained legislative advocacy by Civil Society groups remained paramount to successfully combat endemic corruption in Nigeria.
Oladele made this known while giving an opening remark at a Legislative Workshop on ‘Oversight, Ethic and Accountability’ organised by Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) under the aegis of a project entitled “Strengthening Legislative Accountability and Anti-Corruption Mechanisms (SLAAM)” in Calabar, the capital city of Cross River state.
Acknowledging the efforts hitherto that brought to the limelight some enabling policy and legislative frameworks to address the issues of corruption in the country, the legislator stressed the need for persistent legislative advocacy to sustain the fight against corruption, especially in the face of high rate of legislative turnover that threatens institutional building in every legislative life-cycle.
He identified the peculiar nature of the legislative arm in comparison to other Arms of Government in any democracy and added that the legislature is the custodian of the people’s wishes and aspirations.
The Executive Director of CISLAC, Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani) represented by Barr. Adesina Oke, Director of Legal, CISLAC added that the Workshop was organized as part of organisation’s commitment to promote synergy and strengthen oversight functions amongst relevant Committees of the National Assembly.
He said that legislative-civil society interface will enhance citizens’ confidence in the legislature as such was fundamental in strengthening democratic governance in Nigeria, which reiterating the constitutional obligation of the legislature to “expose corruption, inefficiency or waste, in the execution or disbursement of administration of funds appropriated by it” as contained in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
Also, speaking at the Workshop, Africa Director, MacArthur Foundation, Dr. Kole Shettima represented by Amina Salihu acknowledged the leadership and commitment of CISLAC in legislative advocacy against corruption in the country.
According to Shettima, the recent realignment of strategic focus areas of engagement by the Foundation from Maternal New-born and Child Health to Anti-corruption was informed by the need to identify the challenges confronting the country in the area of entrenching accountability in governance and strengthening the Criminal Justice System.
He commended progress on the Proceeds of Crime Bill stating that it was a landmark piece of legislation which would go a long way in curbing the penchant for corruption in public service.