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CCB, CEOs and the burden of compliance

Ironically, there has been an increase in violation of the Code of Conduct by public officers in recent times more out of ignorance than deliberate…

Ironically, there has been an increase in violation of the Code of Conduct by public officers in recent times more out of ignorance than deliberate flouting of the law. The result is that more and more officers are being dragged to the Tribunal. After a careful review of the situation, the Bureau including the Board felt that National Compliance Training for public officers has become not only necessary but urgent. The idea is to acquaint all public officers of the dos and don’ts of the service. Though the Bureau has been conducting training for public officers on the Code for years now, this is the first time it is being done on a large scale- at federal, state, local government levels and the Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, as well as the military, Para-military and security services in one fell swoop.

The Bureau believes that majority of public officers are ready to comply but are largely ignorant of the Law, hence, are being given the opportunity to know the Law as it affects their service.

For the Bureau, compliance to the Code of Conduct by public officers is key to probity, accountability and honesty in public service and the hallmark of selfless service. It is a burden the Bureau believes it is shouldering in order to restore public service to its original glory. It is thus poised to ensure that every public officer is seen by his compatriots as honest, hardworking and trustworthy with his present perception as dubious and corrupt a thing of the past. All the public officer needs do to achieve this is simply stick to the Code.

This is why the Bureau is calling on the Chief Executive Officers, CEOs and Accounting Officers of Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies to attend a special session of the Compliance Training Programme for them on Thursday, February 23, 2012 in Abuja not only to familiarise them with the Code but to foster compliance. In leading by example, the CEOs are expected to carry the battle axe of the Bureau back to their respective organisations at the end of the training. In this vein, it is hoped that the CEOs will turn out in large numbers for the special session of the training programme.

It is gratifying though that many agencies are responding positively to the Bureau’s call to participate in the Compliance Training Programme. Already trained are: Nigeria Press Council,(NPC); National Insurance Commission, (NAICOM); National Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI and National Emergency Management Agency, (NEMA) and National Anti-Corruption Volunteer Corps, (NAVC). Among those scheduled for the next batch of training are: Abuja Investment Company Ltd, (AICL), Department of Petroleum Resources, (DPR), Education Trust Fund, (ETF); Nigeria Customs Service, (NCS); Nigeria Ports Authority, (NPA); Federal Inland Revenue Service,(FIRS) and Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN).

Also, agencies that have submitted their nominal roll to the Bureau include: National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion, (NOTAP); National Bureau of Statistics, (NBS); Standards Organisation of Nigeria, (SON); National Broadcasting Corporation, (NBC); National Hajj Commission (NHC); Integrated Data Services (IDS); National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP); NIMASA; Federal Housing authority (FHA); National Theatre; Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, (ICRC); Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board; Nigeria Export Processing Zone Authority, (NEPZA) and Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC). Others are: NEXIM bank; Bureau of Public Enterprises, (BPE); National Health Insurance Scheme, (NHIS) and National Universities Commission, (NUC) etc.

As the Bureau awaits other government agencies to comply with the training programme, the benefits are all encompassing. Among others, it will ensure that all Public Officers in the federation henceforth comply with the constitutional provisions on Assets Declaration clearly stated in Paragraph 11, Part 1, of the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution: “Every Public Officer shall within 3 months after the coming into force of this Code of Conduct or immediately after taking office and thereafter; At the end of every four years; and At the end of his term of office: Submit to the Code of Conduct Bureau a written declaration of all his properties, assets and liabilities and those of his spouse, or unmarried children under the age of 18 years”.  The training will also measure the Asset Declaration Compliance Level Amongst Government Agencies and reduce the huge resources that would ordinarily be expended in prosecuting offenders by the Bureau.

Onoko wrote from Abuja

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