Institutional Frameworks in the Fight Against Corruption in Nigeria
The Nigeria Police Force
The Nigeria Police Force was established from the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution. The relevant section of the Constitution that supports its existence states:
There shall be a Police Force for Nigeria which shall be known as the Nigeria Police Force, and subject to the provision of the Section no other Police Force shall be established for the Federation or any part thereof.
The Constitution did not explain the powers and duties of the Police Force, but in relation to same provides that “the members of the Nigeria Police Force shall have such powers and duties as may be conferred upon them by law.” However, the Police Act which establishes the Police Force explains the powers and duties of the Police Force. The Act states:
There is established for Nigeria a Police Force (in this act referred to as “the Police Force”) which shall, subject to the provisions of the constitution of the provisions of the federal republic of Nigeria: be organized and administered in accordance with the provisions of this act; and have such powers and duties and carry out such responsibilities as are conferred on it under this act or any other law.
In as much as the Nigeria Constitution did not establish the Police Force specially to fight against Corruption in the Country, the powers and obligations granted it in a way mandates the Police to among other powers and responsibilities, to combat corruption in the country.
Section 4 of the Police Act grants the Police Force the power and function to prevent and detect crimes, and to protect the rights and freedom of everyone in the Country as provided in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and other relevant constituted laws. The Act states:
The Police Force shall: prevent and detect crimes, and protect the rights and freedom of every person in Nigeria as provided in the Constitution, the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, and any other law; maintain public safety, law and order; and protect the lives and property of all persons in Nigeria.
The provision of the Police Act in no doubt brings the prevention and detection of Corruption and the apprehension of corrupt persons within the ambit of the duties of the Police Force.
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was established in 2003 following the enactment of the EFCC (Establishment) Act 2002. This Act was later repealed and replaced with the EFCC (Establishment) Act 2004. The Commission was established as a body corporate with long-lasting structure with a common seal, and has the right to sue and be sued in its corporate name.
The Commission is termed as the financial intelligence unit in Nigeria empowered to coordinate the different institutions involved in the battle against money laundering and enforcing all laws that have to do with economic and financial crimes in the Country. Section 2 of the EFCC (Establishment) Act states:
The Commission is designated as the financial intelligence unit in Nigeria charged with the responsibility of coordinating the various Institutions involved in the fight against money laundering and enforcement of all laws dealing with economic and financial crimes in Nigeria.
The Commission comprises of a Chairman and twenty-one other members with a secretary inclusive. The Chairman is the chief executive and accounting officer of the Commission and is a serving or retired member of any Government Security or Law Enforcement Agency not less than the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) or its equivalent, while the Secretary serves as the Head of Administration of the Commission. The EFCC (Establishment) Act 2004 states:
The Commission consists of a Chairman who is the Chief Executive and Accounting Officer of the Commission and who must be a serving or retired member of any Government Security or Law Enforcement Agency not below the rank of an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) or its equivalent.
The EFCC is charged with the roles, authorities and responsibilities to investigate and prosecute cases of economic and financial crimes with the inclusion of advance fee fraud, money laundering, counterfeiting, computer credit card fraud, and contract scam.
Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC)
The Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) was established vide the provisions of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2004. The pertinent section of the act states that there is hereby established a Commission to be known as the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission.
The Commission is a body corporate with long-lasting structure with a common seal, and has the right to sue and be sued in its corporate name. It comprises of a chairman and twelve other members, two of whom must come from each of the six geo-political zones of the country.
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The Act also stipulates that the chairman of the Commission must meet certain conditions such as being a retired police officer not below the rank of a commissioner of police or a legal practitioner with a minimum of ten years’ experience on the bar. With reference to the provision of the Act, the following provisions were made:
The Chairman of the Commission shall be; a retired police officer not below the rank of Commissioner of Police; a legal practitioner with at least ten years post call experience; a retired Judge of superior court of record; a retired public servant not below the rank of a Director; a woman; a youth not less than 21 or more than thirty years of age at the time of his/her appointment; a Chartered Accountant.
The Act also states that “the Chairman and members of the Commission shall be persons of established integrity.” This requirement is key based on the Commission’s mandate which is mostly on the fight against Corruption. The Commission’s credibility may become questionable if the Chairman or other members are persons with questionable character or integrity.
When an officer of the Commission is investigating or prosecuting an incidence of Corruption, such officer is granted the powers, privileges and immunities of a Police Officer under the Police Act and other laws granting powers, rights and protection to Police Officers or other Law Enforcement Agents.
The Judiciary is one of the three Arms of Government in the Presidential System of Government as practiced in Nigeria. The role of the Judiciary in governance is very important as it highlights and emphasizes the significance of law in a Country.
The strength of the institutional landscape of any country is reliant on the three branches of power including, the Executive, Legislative and Judicial powers. The Judiciary in Nigeria derives its powers from the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.105 The Constitution states the following on the power of the Judiciary:
The power of the Judiciary shall extend to all matters between government and to any person in Nigeria, and to all actions and proceeding relating thereto for the determination of any question as to the civil rights and obligations of that person.
In determining the privileges and responsibilities of an individual, the Judiciary is obliged to observe the principles of the rule of law in the polity. Bannister, Appleby, and Howe defined rule of law as “the rule by law not by men.” In explaining the concept of rule of law, Valcke stated the following:
The rule of law is a concept that describes the supreme authority of the law over government action and individual behaviour. It corresponds to a situation where both the government and individuals are bound by the law and comply with it. It is the anti-thesis of tyrannical or arbitrary rule.
Access to justice also forms a basis for practicing the concept of the rule of law as enshrined in the constitution. The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides the essential access in this respect. It states:
In the determination of his civil rights and obligations including any question or determination by or against any government or authority, a person shall be entitled to a fair hearing within a reasonable time by a court or other tribunal established by law and constituted in such manner as to secure its independence and impartiality….
The above provisions of the Constitution and foregoing provisions guarantees citizen’s right to access to justice, and the Court in administering justice must ensure that it is done within a realistic time. The Court must also be able to show that it is independent and impartial through the dispensation of justice.