By Okunade Adekunle
Lagos State House of Assembly has proposed the creation of Anti-Corruption Commission in the state.
This was contained in a bill initiated by the House to make public officers earn more public trust by improving public transparency and accountability in all spheres of public governance in the state.
The title of the bill is ‘ Lagos State Public Complaints and Anti Corruption Commission Law And For Connected Purposes’.
The Speaker of the House, Rt ( Hon) Mudashiru Obasa, who was represented by the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Wasiu Sanni-Eshinlokun, during the opening speech at the Public Hearing on Friday, said that the bill when passed would underscore the stature of the bill as not just germane towards ensuring further accountability and trust.
“The current bill seeks to create the Lagos State Public Complaints and Anti Corruption Commission in Section Two of the bill.
“For clarity purposes, the objective of the commission are elaborately spelt in Section Eight while the general functions are itemized in Section 14 of the bill.
“To ensure diligence, the bill creates a clear administrative structure; offences under the scope of the commission; the jurisdiction; the commission’s modus operandi; funds management and disciplinary procedures”, said Obasa.
Obasa said that the law was a public conscience, hence, regardless of how well-drafted was a bill, and that it remains sacrosanct to hear from and incorporate the conscience and thought of the public to make a good law.
The speaker further said the bill would further adequate security because where there was public trust in the leadership, public satisfaction would increase and conversely decrease crime rate.
Obasa noted that public hearing and stakeholders’ consultations were essential features of a good legislative process that endanger progressive governance.
He said: “This is because it provides platform to cumulate the agitations, curate the wisdom of relevant stakeholders and reflect various interests in the actual legislation.
“To my mind, this showcase the true definition is described the great Abraham Lincoln being government of the people, by the people and for the people.
“Therefore, a good legislation must not just be a reflection of the yearnings of the populace but also the aggregate of the common interests of the majority.”
Obasa said a good legislation must be the sum interest of the people, not as perceived by the lawmakers but as articulated by the representative of the public through fora like this.
Earlier, the Chairman, House Committee on Judiciary, Public Petition, Human Rights and LASIEC, Hon. Victor Akande, said that the essence of the bill was to bring sanity and accountability to governance in the state.
He said: “With this bill, the administrative bottleneck that people usually encounter while dealing in government office, this will put to an end bribery and corruption in public office.
“The commission that is saddled with the responsibility of beaming search light into government activities.
“The commission will receive petitions from people who have any complaints will be able to seek redress.”
Akande said the bill empowers immunity to commission members from prosecution as this was to give them a level of independence to be able to do their job unhindered.
According to him, if we don’t do it that way people will just be dragging them up and down and that will not allow them to concentrate on the job they have been appointed to do.
In her contribution, stakeholders from the State High Court, Deputy Chief Registrar, Omolabi Amope, said that a retired judicial officer should be made the Chairman of the Commission.
Amope also pointed out that section 8(f) of the Bill usurps the power of the NJC, suggesting the review of the section.
Olayiwola Ibrahim from the Civil Society community, stated that there should be appropriate criteria for selection of members of the Commission so it would not be bastardized..
A representative of the Lagos Citizens Mediation Centre (LCMC), Rotimi Odutola observed that section 14(c) of the Bill overlaps with LCMC.
Odutola said instead of the commission to mediate in disputes, it should be given the power of referral to the Centre.