ABUJA—House of Representatives Speaker Aminu Tambuwal, Monday, cautioned “state actors” not to misapply the law in granting pardons to persons involved in corruption and security related cases.
According to News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports, Tambuwal gave the advice at the opening of a two-day national conference on corruption and national security organised by the Institute for Anti-Corruption Studies, University of Abuja.
He said for the nation to succeed in the fight against corruption “state actors” must have a “better understanding of the law”.
Tambuwal said: “A situation whereby you misapply the law even to grant pardon or whatever it is, we need to really look at that because if you don’t understand the law you may tend to misapply the law.
“So there is the need for us at the high places to increase our capacity of understanding our legal system and the laws that relate to issues of security and fight against corruption for us to apply them in the best interest of the citizenry.”
The speaker, who described corruption and insecurity as key challenges facing the nation, regretted that government agencies working in these sectors had faced serious budget cuts in recent years.
According to him, “there is the need for the government to properly fund the security agencies for them to have proper training to face the challenges of insecurity, especially terrorism, which is a new phenomenon around here.
“There is also the need for our anti-corruption agencies not only to be independent in paper but also to have adequate funding and the requisite financial muscle to face the uphill task in the fight against corruption.”
He challenged the conference, largely made up personalities from the academia and the civil society, to study the funding pattern of the anti-corruption agencies over the years.
He said Nigeria anti-corruption agencies were “seriously under-funded” when compared with their peers from other countries.
The speaker said attempts by the National Assembly to address the anomaly in the budget had often been misconstrued by some sections of the public as “padding of the budget and meddlesome”.
He said; “I have not blamed anyone for the poor funding and I am not exonerating the National Assembly from that lack of funding for anti-corruption agencies.
“But we need the support of every Nigerian to understand that when the National Assembly says a particular funding being proposed by the executive to any agency of government is inadequate, we will make efforts to provide for such critical agencies.
“However in most cases, we have been accused of padding the budget as if it is not our constitutional responsibility to do that.
“So I am using this platform to appeal that Nigerians should understand the role of the legislature in the budgeting process.
“We are not meddlers, we are not being meddlesome when we say certain provisions being proposed by the executive arm of government should be enhanced for that agency of government to function effectively,” he said.
The speaker also called for a critical overhaul of the legal and justice system in the country to boost the fight against corruption and insecurity.
He said the National Assembly would not hesitate to review and enact laws that would aid the fight against corruption.
He also called for a re-orientation of the populace on the consequences of getting involved in corruption.
Speaking at the event, Mr Dino Melaye, anti-corruption campaigner and former member House of Representatives said the current fight against corruption must move beyond rhetoric to action.
He said: “Nigerians must graduate from workshops, colloquiums, symposiums and seminars like this to relating all we have discussed (on corruption) to action.
“Nigerians must come out of their cocoon to begin to agitate for change because in an unjust society, silence is a crime. Nigerians must begin to protest vehemently against corruption and then change will come,” he said
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