Some civil society organisations and activists have urged the judiciary to help strengthen the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission rather than undermine it.
The organisations; Zero Corruption Coalition (ZCC), Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and others also called on the Kano State House of Assembly to strengthen the commission for effective functioning.
They stated this while reacting to a judgement delivered by a Kano State High Court, which held that the commission lacked the powers to investigate anyone in Kano for corruption.
They urged the Court of Appeal, Kaduna Division, to grant accelerated hearing to an appeal against a high court judgement which whittled down the commission’s powers.
The groups, at a briefing in Lagos by CISLAC executive director, Auwal Rafsanjani, further called on the judiciary in Kano “to, as a matter of principle, desist from any act capable of undermining efforts against corruption in the state.”
They urged the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) to provide a mechanism that will check the arbitrariness of some judges especially in the area of anti-corruption in Kano.
According to them, the commission had been doing a good job in helping to tackle corruption in the state by recovering stolen funds, adding that the judgement was capable of rendering the commission powerless if not set aside.
The Kano anti-graft commission was established under Section 3 of the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission Law 2008 (as amended).
It launched an investigation following a complaint against a former Kano State commissioner for Health, Dr Abubakar Labaran Yusuf over an alleged diversion of some money meant for the up-keep of some students studying in Cairo.
The former commissioner, who denied the allegations, challenged the commission’s powers at the high court.
The court ruled that the commission had no power to make an arrest. It stripped the commission of its detention powers.
The court further scrapped the commission’s operations department and awarded N10million damages against it.
The commission has, however, appealed against the judgement.
Rafsanjani said the judgement came at a time other states were being encouraged to set up such anti-graft agencies to help fight corruption.