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Rights group faults CCB’s asset declaration regime

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Code of Conduct Bureau Court PHOTO: NAN

Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has faulted the concern of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) over the low level of compliance with the asset declaration regime.

It said the Bureau was responsible for the ineffectiveness of the legal requirements for public officers to declare their assets.

At a public forum over the weekend, chairman of the Bureau, Professor Mohammed Isah, had said that public officers were not complying with their asset declaration obligations.

His words, “The level of compliance is not encouraging at all.”

But MRA said yesterday that it was not impressed by CCB’s shedding of crocodile tears over the ineffectiveness of the asset declaration regime when it had done everything possible, since the coming into force of the 1999 Constitution, to ensure that the system did not work.

The Executive Director of MRA, Mr. Edetaen Ojo, argued that the CCB, instead, allowed itself and the asset declaration framework to be used to settle political scores, thereby undermining the credibility of the process.

He said, “Despite that the Bureau is an institution created by the constitution and therefore has the strongest protection among all the anti-corruption agencies in Nigeria – the others having been established by statutes – the CCB has deliberately incapacitated itself and is now clearly the weakest and most ineffectual of the anti-corruption agencies.”

Ojo described as ridiculous the CCB chairman’s attempt to explain away the Bureau’s persistent refusal to comply with the provisions of the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act, 2011.

“His statement is not only false and misleading, but betrays a level of ignorance that is embarrassing coming from someone holding such high public office,” he added.

The CCB boss had said that “if anybody as a private person or private organisation wants to access asset declaration or information contained in the asset declaration of any public officer, those conditions laid down by FoI Act must be fulfilled.”

However, Ojo insisted, “The FoI Act contains absolutely no condition to be fulfilled by anybody, whether a private person or a private organisation seeking to access the declaration of assets or any information contained in the asset declaration of any public officer.”


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