Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, has offered to sponsor a bill in the National Assembly to put an end to malicious petitions sent to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
Tambuwal, while speaking at the commissioning of the new Sokoto State office complex of ICPC revealed that the new bill will seek to give petitioners a clear identity which will in turn put an end to false petitions.
He said, “We will push for a bill to the National Assembly that would seek petitioners to submit along with their petitions, affidavit, a petitioner’s photograph and signature to avoid malicious petitions. Aside salvaging the course of law, doing so may save the precious time of investigators, the police and those involved in the fight against corruption.”
The Governor also called for the strengthening of anti-corruption agencies in the country while urging ICPC to as much as possible, avoid frivolities and media trials in the discharge of its function of curbing corruption in the country.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Chairman of ICPC, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, stated that the Commission was empowered by law to set up offices in the 36 states of the Federation, adding that the Sokoto state office was the second of its kind to be commissioned after the Oyo state office.
He said the Sokoto office was among the second phase of state offices that were established by ICPC in 2007 with only seven members of staff in a rented apartment but was relocated on account of constant flooding in the area coupled with its small size.
The Chairman informed the gathering that the one-storey edifice being commissioned had a conference room, an investigation room, store, and detention facilities amongst others.
Professor Owasanoye while appreciating former Governor Aliyu Wammako, for approving the plot of land to ICPC, also thanked Governor Tambuwal for providing a peaceful atmosphere that led to the early completion of the project in the state.
He stated that the Commission currently operates in 15 states of the country and hopefully will replicate same structures in all the other states of the Federation where it does not have offices.
“It is our desire that state governments will partner and collaborate with the Commission in the pursuit of its mandate to eradicate all forms of corruption in the country” he said.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Chief Judge of Sokoto State, Hon. Justice Muhammad Sai’du Sifawa, commended the Commission for its adherence to the rule of law in its operations.
Sifawa noted with satisfaction that the Commission having been headed by respected judicial officers from inception to date, had consistently adhered to due process in the discharge of its functions.
He said, “It is therefore not surprising that one can hardly hear or see media trials of suspect brought before the Commission, but yet silently but decisively fighting the scourge.
‘The commissioning of the ICPC Sokoto state office is no doubt another landmark in the giant stride of the current administration’s resolve to fight corruption in its anti-corruption crusade.”
In his good will message, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Anti-Corruption, Hon. Garba N. Shehu commended ICPC for commissioning a state-of-the-art office in Sokoto state. He said that the new office will no doubt provide a conducive environment that will help in the pursuit of the Commission’s mandate.
He commended the Chairman and Board of ICPC for the recent tracking of Constituency and Executive Projects, saying that it brought to the fore the necessity for improved accountability in the country’s procurement process with a view to ensuring that ordinary Nigerians get the benefit of government spending.
He assured that the National Assembly will continue to support the work of the Commission through appropriation and legislative intervention.
In his vote of thanks, the Secretary to the Commission, Professor Musa Usman Abubakar, thanked everyone who took out time to be part of the ICPC history.
He stated that with the commissioning of the Sokoto office, ICPC in Sokoto state will be better placed to deliver improved services in its collective effort to rid Nigeria of corruption.
“The activities of the Commission in covering some states in the North-West such as Zamfara, Kebbi and Sokoto itself will be better executed henceforth….’’
High points of the event was a display of Hausa/Fulani cultural dance, a short drama presentation depicting how citizens can own their constituency projects and a tour of the ICPC Sokoto state office by the Governor.