The Ombudsman: Examining the Role of Nigeria’s Public Complaints Commission – By Ibrahim Gaddafi Tanko,LLB

World over various country’s like Nigeria through the instrumentality of there various law making bodies have enacted there own form of complaints commission as a veritable tool for addressing the concerns of victims of administrative injustice in the public and private sectors.

In Nigeria can we say the commission has lived up to it mandate of addressing this forms of injustices as we are daily inundated with tales of how workers are subjected to dehumanizing working conditions with very low intervention from this very critical agency of government.

If the answer is not in the affirmative, then there is a need for critical questions to be asked, where are we getting it wrong ? What could be done to strengthen the commission ? Are we placing the right people at the helm of affairs at the commission? This are questions that deserve urgent answers.

Sequel to my study of the powers of the commission and it role within the context of the Nigerian state I am convinced that the act establishing the commission needs some radical amendments so as to make it more powerful and independent devoid of interference.

I feel very strongly that the commission should be removed from the supervisory cloak of the National Assembly and be placed on the same pedestal with the independent national electoral commission in terms of true independence for optimal performance.

The funding of the commission should also be improved as the current state of affairs at the agency of government is nothing to write home about with it state offices in decrepit condition coupled with inadequate manpower.

There is a need to also empower the commission to prosecute offenders just like the efcc and the icpc so as to deter in Totality the perpetrators of administrative injustice and maladministration In the public and private sectors.

Initiating some of this reforms with the needed legal framework is what is dearly needed to reposition this agency of government for it to move from the era of a toothless bull dog that cannot only bark but also bite.

Gaddafi, a development and legal reforms advocate writes from Abuja, the nation’s capital, he can be reached @ gaddafi_i@yahoo.com.

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