By Temitope Owotoki
Professor Isa Mohammed, the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), on Thursday, vowed to prosecute any currently serving Governors and Ministers that are found to have falsified their assets.
Mohammed, at the opening session of a three-day retreat for Board members, Management and State Directors of the Bureau, assured that the CCB will do everything possible to prosecute them, once it is established that they failed to properly declare their assets as prescribed by the law.
“In the first place I am not a politician. From my background I am an academician, I have never done any work except legal practice and in the academia. These are the only two jobs I ever did before I came into the CCB.
“As far as I am concerned, there is nothing that can stand on my way from prosecuting anyone that is found guilty,” Mohammed said.
However, he hinted that the CCB is facing enormous challenges in the discharge of its duties.
Mohammed, who took over the helms of the Bureau in November 2018, stated that the essence of the retreat was to bring the management board and state directors of the establishment together to brainstorm and re-appraise some challenges he said hitherto hindered the Bureau from effectively executing its statutory mandate of entrenching probity in public service.
“Idea of a retreat between the management board and the state directors is so that we can sit down and tell ourselves the truth on why the CCB has not been able to perform over the 30 years that it has been in existence,” he said.
The CCB boss noted that before corruption became pervasive in Nigeria, the CCB, was already in place, saying it was established by the 1979 constitution and restated in the 1999 Constitution.
“All its mandates and the enabling Act is there in place as well as other extant laws, to ensure effective compliance and implementation of the code of conduct for public officers in Nigeria. But up till now we are still having enormous challenges,” he said.
On alleged refusal of the Bureau to grant the public access to asset declaration forms that were submitted by some public officials, including Ministers currently serving in President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet, the CCB boss said the issue would get due consideration.
“We are going to study and see how far we can tackle this challenge. When we came in we met an installed system. That is why we are here. At the end of this retreat every bit of problem is going to be discussed and we are going to see a lot of improvements,” he said.
Mohammed said there was need for every staff of the CCB “to brace up to the task ahead.”
“The Challenges facing CCB are quite enormous, but it is my firm belief that this retreat provides an opportunity to come up with a strategic roadmap to address all these.
“You should not just be bystanders, rather be creatively and actively engaged to surmount these challenges and the Board have dedicated ourselves to reposition the CCB in all aspects; funding, Staff re-orientation and motivation, capacity building through staff training and retraining towards increased professionalism.
“With this, it is my conviction that new vistas and frontiers for success in CCB are in the horizon. I therefore implore all participants to key into this new vision. State Directors in particular have been recognized as agents of reform in CCB considering their scope of operations,” he said.
On his part, Mr Danladi Plang, the National Program Manager of Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption, RoLAC, an agency under the British Council that facilitated the retreat, enjoined the CCB to enhance its cooperation with other anti-corruption institutions in the country.
Plang equally urged the CCB to not only carry out its mandate with fairness, but to also ensure strict adherence to its rules.