By Our Reporters
A forum of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), operating under the auspices of Bayelsa State NGOs Forum (BANGOF) in South South Geo-politicall zone of Nigeria has urged the Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly (CRHA), Rt. Hon. Jonas Eteng-Williams to assist in making of laws that can domesticate proceeds of Crime Act, in line with Federal Government’s anti-corruption war.
BANGOF Secretary, Comrade Keme Opia, gave the charge during a courtesy visit to office of the Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly, yesterday in Calabar.
Opia stated that the crime Act which had already been passed into law at national level, if domesticated and made to be effective in the state can go a long way in reducing the incidences of corruption cases trailing public office holders across the 36 states of the country.
The BANGOF scribe further called on the leadership of the Cross River State House of Assembly to with no delay raised a legislation that will protect whistle blowers from possible attack by those indicted for looting public funds.
Opia stated that as an organisation which advocates for proper accountability of public funds/assets recovery, the organisation is aware of the fact that a lot of people with useful information that could lead to subsequent arrest and interrogation of some persons known to have looted public funds are afraid stressing that because of there is no legislation to give whistle blowers protection, that alone makes it cumbersome for any one to come up and blow the whistle.
He said that it is only by so doing, that federal government’s fight against corruption in public office can be won and urged every one in both high and lowly place of authority to join hands in the fight against corruption in order to safe the country from imminent collapse.
The NGO’s scribe maintained that the country belong to all adding that no one out of the country will help the nation in the repair of the nation stressing that it is “we” who are citizens of the country who can make the campaign against corruption succeed.
He said that it is only when proceed of crime act becomes domesticated, that members of the public can now become more aware and knowledgeable enough to hold those in government accountable on issues of recovery/management of recovered funds.
Other demands made by the Bayalsa NGO’s forum include, enhanced working relationship between Community Based Organisations (CBOs), NGOs and the leadership of the Cross River State House of Assembly, in matter relating to cases of corruption.
“We strongly hope to see an enhanced working relationship between CBOs/NGOs and the Cross River State House of Assembly, especially in the Area of Anti corruption programming, assets recovery and management of Recovered Assets”, Opia stated.
In his reactions, Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly CRHA, Rt. Hon. Jonas Eteng Williams, stated that arrangement are on the pipe line to ensure that the demands of the NGO is met.
Eteng urged the BANGOF to ensure that monies recovered from particular public office holders be also returned to coffers of state governments where the fund was first taken from instead of domiciling the fund in a central account that will make the original owner of the funds lose her cash.
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