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Suspension of Kano State Anti-Corruption Chief: CHRICED Calls for Legal Reforms

Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civic Education (CHRICED) expresses its deep concern about the role of vested political interests and weak legal provisions in undermining the independence of anti-corruption institutions. A few days ago, these realities played out in Kano State where the political pressure and interference resulted in the suspension of the Executive Chairman of the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission (PCACC), Muhuyi Magaji Rimin Gado by the State House of Assembly. While CHRICED is not questioning the powers of the Kano State House of Assembly to investigate any alleged wrongdoing in the Commission, the ease and speed with which the Executive Chairman of the State anti-corruption Commission was swept aside, portrays a fundamental weakness in the institution meant to fight corruption in the State.

As the pioneer state-level anti-corruption Commission in Nigeria, the Kano State PCACC was established as a response to the challenge posed by corruption to the welfare and wellbeing of the teeming population of Nigeria’s most populous state. Looking at the key human development indices, it is clear that over the years, the huge resources of the State have not directly or indirectly impacted the lives of citizens. As of 2019 for example, the poverty headcount rate, which measures the percentage of citizens below the national poverty line, put the Kano State figure at 55.08 percent. What this implies is that over half of the citizens in the State are living below the national poverty line. There are other similarly worrisome indices in areas such as literacy, unemployment, and maternal and child mortality. Many of these problems have been accentuated by the monster of corruption, especially as it manifests in the diversion of public resources for private use, bribery and other forms of abuse of public or private office.

It was to fight off the corruption monster and its effect that the administration of Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau signed into law the legislation to establish the State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission in December 2008. Unfortunately, some of the gaps and weaknesses in the law, which established the Commission are the loopholes currently being exploited to keep it weak and subservient to political elite interest. For instance, Section 6 of the Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Law states: “the Chairman or any member of the Commission appointed under this Law may at any time be removed from office by the Governor acting upon a resolution supported by simple majority of the members of the State House of Assembly praying that he be removed from office for inability to discharge effectively the functions of his office or for any other reason.” In the same breath, the law goes on to state in Section 8 that “In exercising its powers under this Law, the Commission shall not be subjected to the direction and control of any authority.”

This contradiction is a real flaw, which indicates that the Commission is not independent in the real sense of the word. By the very law establishing it, the Commission has been tied to the apron strings of the politically exposed persons, who are part of the people that the Commission should be holding to account. While there may be no sympathies for the suspended Executive Chairman, due to the fact that he was previously used to execute the hatchet jobs of the same politicians who have now done away with him, it is important to preserve the institution itself from undue interference. Future moves by the political elite in the state to undermine an independent anti-corruption institution would have to be prevented. The only way to do that is to revisit the law setting up the Commission, to ensure it is truly independent from political pressure and elite interference.


Comrade Dr. Ibrahim M. Zikirullahi
Executive Director

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