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The Freedom of Information Coalition in Nigeria-FOICN has called on Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that individuals to be appointed into his cabinet declare their assets before they are sworn-in.

National Coordinator of the Coalition, Walter Duru, who made the call while addressing newsmen weekend, argued that proper assets declaration by public appointees shall set the stage for effective citizens’ monitoring of their activities.

Duru, who commended the President for his insistence on running a transparent administration, urged him to start with an internal cleansing of his cabinet in order to set a good example.

He took a swipe on the country’s anti-corruption agencies, describing them as mere ‘business centers’, urging the President to take urgent steps to sanitize them; even as he made a case for the immediate adoption of the Conference Committee Report on the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Center-NFIC Bill, being delayed by the outgoing House of Representatives.

“The President must ensure that all those to work with him declare their assets openly to enable Nigerians monitor them. It is unfortunate that our anti-graft agencies are not living up to expectations. The EFCC has not impressed Nigerians. The Code of conduct Bureau and Tribunal are not working. The Code of Conduct Tribunal has not sat for about three years now. Is it that no public office holder in Nigeria has breached public confidence and thrust? The ICPC can perform better. The surest way forward is a total overhaul of the anti-graft agencies. All the corrupt elements must be shown the way out and of course, prosecuted. The Police must return to the Barracks and allow the EFCC space to function. Having over 700 Policemen in the employ of EFCC is unacceptable. A mechanism should also be put in place to monitor the activities of the anti-graft agencies.”

“To strengthen the country’s anti-corruption war, President Buhari must throw his weight behind the passage of the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Center, Proceeds of Crime and Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Bills, which are relevant legislations that will close the gaps in the country’s anti-corruption war”

On compliance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, the FOICN helmsman indicted public institutions under the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government for non-compliance with the Freedom of Information Act, describing it as an Act of impunity.

He revealed the determination of the Coalition under his administration to ensure enforcement of the Act, while increasing citizens’ demand for accountability in governance.

Duru however urged Nigerians to take advantage of the Freedom of Information Act to check the activities of public institutions in Nigeria.

“The Coalition, in partnership with other stakeholders is working on a holistic strategy aimed at increasing awareness, capacity building and enforcement of the Freedom of Information Act. We shall also ensure that public institutions comply with the proactive disclosure obligations under the FOI Act.”

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Chike Duru and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

Articles by Chike Duru