The Legislature and Anti-corruption Crusade under Nigeria’s Fourth Republic, 1999-2013
An attempt by the Federal Government of Nigeria to remove subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly known as fuel opened a Pandora’s Box which stories are still developing till today. On the insistence and prompting of Nigerians that corruption and fuel had been subsidized all along, the House of Representatives set up an Ad Hoc committee to look into alleged irregularities in the fuel subsidy regime. The committee after its investigation discovered that N1.4 trillion had been unlawfully paid out to the treasury looters. This particular fraud is said to be the most monumental in Nigeria and in Africa considering that it is close to half the annual budget of Nigeria and that of about seven West African countries put together. Few months after the submission of the report of the Panel which included recommendations for appropriate sanctions to culprits, Nigerians were yet treated to another drama when Mr. Femi Otedola whose company Zenon Oil had been fingered as one of the beneficiaries of the loot, came out to say that the chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee Hon. Farouk Lawan had solicited for $3m out of which $620,000 had been paid out to enable Hon Farouk Lawan remove Zenon Oil from any complicity in the scam. To say that corruption, like cankerworm, has totally devoured the very fabric of the Nigerian polity is merely stating the obvious. That the cost of public and private sector corruption to the nation, over the years, is unquantifiable is rather stale news. Likewise the fact that the agencies saddled with the responsibilities of checkmating corruption and prosecuting corrupt individuals has not done enough. Even the judiciary has not helped matters. And the question remains: Is there a way out of the woods? This is where the role of the legislature in the anti-corruption initiative is critical given the centrality of the role of the legislature in the political process of a polity. This paper examines how the legislature has faired in performing its constitutional and oversight duties in this regard. It finds a wide gulf of difference between constitutional prescriptions and political realities in a country where the legislature itself is confronted by daunting corruption challenges.
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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)
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