• Saturday, July 20, 2024
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Address corruption in government businesses – Obazee urges lawmakers 


Jim Obazee, the special investigator appointed by President Bola Tinubu, has called on lawmakers to find more effective ways to address corruption, inefficiencies, and waste within government businesses.

Appointed on July 28, 2023, Obazee’s role as a special investigator is based on section 15(5) of the Nigerian constitution, tasking him and his team with investigating and blocking financial leakages within the CBN and other key government business entities.

Speaking at the ThisNigeria award ceremony, where he and four other prominent Nigerians were honoured, Obazee emphasised the critical role of lawmakers in ensuring government ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) fulfil their mandates.

The special investigator highlighted the power held by lawmakers, including their oversight functions and the authority to scrutinise the operations of any government institution to ensure they comply with their enabling Acts and maintain accountability.

Addressing the recent mishandling of palliative distribution by the government, Obazee stated, “We have State Assemblies just as we have the National Assembly, the lawmakers therein are to track down corruption, inefficiencies and wastes in government business. That should be the role of the Federal and state assemblies. They should be able to design a better way to ensure government delivers on campaign promises and physical distributions”

Obazee’s remarks come in the wake of his preliminary report submitted to Tinubu in December 2023, which criticised the ninth National Assembly’s approval of the N22.7 trillion securitization of Ways and Means.

The report argued that this action violated section 38 of the CBN Act 2007 and section 80 (2) of the Nigerian constitution, as it involved spending public funds without National Assembly appropriation.

The report recommended that the federal government approach the Supreme Court to nullify the securitisation approval.

However, instead of heeding this advice, the National Assembly approved the securitisation of an additional N7.3 trillion by the end of December 2023, only to later begin probing the entire amount, which now stands at N30 trillion.

Obazee, a former executive secretary of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), received the Gold Prize in Public Service from ThisNigeria Newspaper for his efforts in exposing and addressing malfeasance at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under the former governor, Godwin Emefiele.

Other awardees at the ThisNigeria event included Nyesom Wike, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) minister, who received the Gold Prize for Infrastructure Revolution and Exceptional Leadership in the FCT; Governor Kabir Abba Yusuf of Kano State, awarded the Gold Prize for Courage in Leadership; Governor Umo Bassey Eno of Akwa Ibom, honoured with the Gold Prize for Peace Building and Innovative Leadership; and Comrade Issa Aremu, who received the Gold Prize in Public Service for effective government-workforce engagement.