Proposed Kogi anti-graft agency not to compete with EFCC, ICPC – Lawmakers

A bill for an Act to establish the Kogi State Anti-Corruption Bureau passed its second reading in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

Presenting the leading debate on Tuesday, the lawmaker representing Okene Constituency, Suleiman Abdulrazak, noted that the bill, when passed into law, will help the government fight corruption in the state.

Abdulrazak, who is also the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, said the proposed Kogi State anti-graft agency would not be able to compete with federal anti-graft agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission; and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related crimes Commission, but to supplement them.

Also, another lawmaker, Bin-Ebaiya Tijani, said the bill was important to ensure that “before any outsider comes to look at our book, there will be an agency on the ground to say that this happened and this is not happened.”

Tijani said a 2015 incident in the state, which caused a constitutional crisis in the country, had underlined the point that laws needed to be revised.

He said: “In the year 2015, our leader, who was at the forefront of winning the elections, died in the process. That situation in Kogi State left the entire nation in disarray as such incidents were not enshrined in our constitution. When it happened, therefore, there was a revision of our Constitution. That’s all the more reason why I said this is timely.”

The lawmaker representing Igalamela/Odolu Constituency, Enefola Major, said corruption has been the bane of Nigerian society, hence the need to expressly pass the bill.

“Corruption is endemic in our society. Unfortunately, many Nigerians are corrupt. It’s high time we all hold the bull by the horns. I appeal to our colleagues to join hands and support this bill,” he said.

The members representing Yagba West State constituency, Idowu Ibikunle; Ajaokuta, Abu Jibrin; and Okene South, Yusuf Eneve, all threw their weight behind the bill to have a quick passage.

The Speaker, Aliyu Yusuf, also described the bill as important, stressing that Kogi anti-graft agencies would not antagonize federal anti-graft agencies.

“With this type of body, it will also assist the House of Representatives in its supervisory duties. For those of us who happen to be privileged in the position of approval, we will obviously be very careful. If this body is created, it is not to antagonize any federal body, but to work with them and make our society a better place.

“Perhaps in some cases that the federal government loses due to poor investigation or lack of sufficient evidence, the state government will be able to provide them with more evidence so that the perpetrators will be brought to justice,” the chairman said. .

The bill was then committed to the House Committee on Judiciary and Legal Affairs.

The proposed Kogi State anti-graft agency comes at a time when the EFCC is going after the former governor, Yahaya Bello, over alleged N82.2 billion fraud.

An attempt by the EFCC to arrest Bello in his Abuja was reportedly frustrated by the incumbent Governor, Usman Ododo, who reportedly whisked away his predecessor in his official vehicle and shielded him from the EFCC operatives.

Meanwhile, a bill for an act to repeal and reintroduce the Kogi State Local Government Service Commission, and a bill for an act to repeal and reintroduce the 1998 Kogi State Scholarship Board Edict, were also the second reading passed at the Kogi Assembly on Tuesday.

The lawmakers also considered a bill to establish the Kogi State Electricity Market and the Kogi State Electricity Regulatory Commission to regulate the generation, transmission, system operation, distribution and supply of electricity and promote access to electricity in the state.

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