Alex Enumah in Abuja
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Akinseye-George, has initiated moves that will take away the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) from the direct supervision of the executive arm of government in order to make them more effective in the fight against corruption in the country.
Akinseye-George said both the CCB and CCT are two powerful bodies whose independence must be guaranteed for optimal performance, and being an arm of the judiciary must be separated from the executive.
He spoke at the opening of the national workshop on the Reform of the Criminal/Penal Codes and the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act and the Provisions of the Constitution Pertaining to Code of Conduct for Public Officers, held in Abuja.
The workshop is put together by the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies (CSLS) in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Justice and stakeholders in the justice sector.
The senior advocate said that the workshop was aimed at presenting to stakeholders the “proposals being developed at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies for improving administration of criminal justice and strengthening accountability and transparency in the country”.
Prof Akinseye-George lamented that there has not been any remarkable improvement in the legal framework which established the Code of Conduct for Public Officers.
“Even when the 1999 Constitution was promulgated, the provisions of the Code of Conduct remained substantially the same as under the 1979 Constitution.
“With the astronomical growth in the public service and the attendant explosion in abuse of office, there is certainly an urgent need to review the laws and procedures for ensuring accountability and transparency.
“The Code of Conduct system is a powerful tool for preventing abuse of office. But the system is currently inefficient and riddled with all sorts of controversies.
“For example, the speed and diligence with which the CCB and CCT handled some recent high-profile cases ought to be the standard operating procedure of the system. But alas, this is not so”, he said.
Prof Akinseye-George disclosed that as part of the planned reform, the Centre in the past months have been reviewing the adequacy or otherwise of the provisions of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act as well as the relevant Constitutional Provisions on the Code of Conduct for Public Officers.
He disclosed that findings from this workshop and subsequent ones would be put together and submitted to the Attorney General of the Federation for consideration for legislative action.
“Additionally, the proposals will be submitted to proactive members of the National Assembly for legislative action.
“Our Centre intends to use the same strategy which we applied for the development and passage of the Evidence Act and the ACJA 2015 for pushing through our present reform proposals as may be improved from time to time”, he added.