The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) expresses concerns over the recent report by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) giving unfavourable indices of the endemic corrupt practices permeating judicial and law-enforcement agencies in the country.
While we commend the Bureau as a national institution and the Nigerian Government for their openness and doggedness in close monitoring and reporting events in our public sphere resulting in the first-time published fact-findings on systemic corruption crippling the social and economic development of our beloved nation, we are compelled to reiterate that the findings, as reported, have not only corroborated but validated the 2015 Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) published by the Transparency International (TI) indicting Nigeria as one of the most corrupt countries in Sub-Saharan Africa with specific reference to police and judiciary as corrupt-ridden institutions.
We are not unaware of the unquantified pervasive corruption in Nigeria’s police and judicial systems paving way for persistent extortions, high-level embezzlement, diversion of entitlements, institutionalised human rights abuses and systemic bribery, giving chances to hopelessness, insecurity and degrading treatments of the less privileged in the country.
This is worrisome as we strongly condemn the prompt but unjustified dismissal of the evident report by the affected institutions, instead of constructive and appropriate commendation of Nigerian Government for its participation and openness in publishing citizens’ reflected opinion and perception of the public institutions in the country.
We are surprised at the prompt but baseless responses by the police and judicial institutions nullifying the independent view and perception of the citizens whose rights they are primarily and constitutionally mandated to protect and defend, rather than appropriate action expected to strengthen internal control systems in the affected institutions to block loopholes and address gaps as reported by NBS.
We observe and construe such outright rejection portrayed by the institutions as a clear indication of questionable credibility, lackadaisical and radical systemic attitude to flaw the nation’s progress and strategic efforts in the fight against corruption, especially in the public sphere.
We call on the National Bureau of Statistics and Nigerian Government to never relent in their existing effort and pursuit to maintain transparency, sanity and sanctity in the public sphere through the public projection of citizens’ perceptions and expectations of public institutions without fear or favour.
We encourage the affected institutions to ensure appropriate change in orientation and practices by most of their operatives to restore citizens’ trust and confidence in the nation’s police and judicial systems.
We call on all well-meaning Nigerians and the media on continuous supervision, tracking, monitoring and reporting of developments in public institutions to ensure effective and efficient service delivery.
In order to further complement the spirit of sustainability, we further urge constructive reflection in our national legal system, for burden of proof to be shifted to the person accused of corruption to give personal account of the source of acquired wealth in investigatory process; while lack of clear justification for such should call for confiscation of the acquired Property.