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April 17, 2012

EFCC & ICPC Should Be Scrapped...And FRSC Should Not Exist In Its Current Form - Mr. Stephen Osagiede Oronsaye

President Goodluck Jonathan & Mr. Stephen Oronsaye
A Presidential panel has recommended the scrapping of both the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices (ICPC) and other related Offences Commission.

It said the two key anti-corruption agencies were performing the functions of the Nigeria Police Force.

The recommendation is contained in the report submitted on Monday by the Presidential Committee on the Rationalisation and Restructuring of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies. 

Chairman of the committee and a former head of service of the federation, Mr. Stephen Osagiede Oronsaye, presented the report at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, saying his panel had recommended the reduction of the existing 263 government’s statutory agencies in the country to 161.

He said in all, the committee recommended the abolition of 38 agencies, merger of 52 and reversion of 14 agencies to departments in the relevant ministries.

The committee, according to him, also recommended the management audit of 89 agencies capturing biometric features of staff as well as the discontinuation of government funding of professional bodies/councils.

The Federal Government, in a statement on Monday, however announced the setting up of a 10-member White Paper drafting committee on the Oronsaye commitee.

Senator Anyim Pius Anyim
The statement by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Anyim Pius Anyim, named the Minister of Justice and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, (SAN), as the chairman of the committee.

Mr Mohammed Adoke (SAN).

Although Oronsaye did not outline the complete list of agencies the committee wanted scrapped, he made specific reference to the EFCC and the ICPC he said were performing the traditional functions of the Nigerian Police Force.

He also said the Federal Road Safety Corps should not be in existence in its current form.
He said although the FRSC had been quite active, the committee observed that what the body was set up to do was a replication of the mandates of two existing bodies: the Highway Department of the Ministry of Works with respect to the maintenance of safety and orderliness on highways and the role of the Nigeria Police in ensuring law and order on the roads.

In all, Oronsaye said if the committee’s report was adopted and agencies reduced in accordance with the recommendation, government would be saving over N862bn between 2012 and 2015.

The breakdown showed that about N124.8bn would be reduced from agencies proposed for abolition; about N100.6bn from agencies proposed for mergers; about N6.6bn from professional bodies; N489.9bn from universities; N50.9bn from polytechnics; N32.3bn from colleges of education and N616m from boards of federal medical centres.

Oronsaye regretted that 12 years after the White Paper on the Ahmed Joda Panel Report on the Review, Harmonisation and Rationalisation of Federal Government Parastatals, Institutions and Agencies, some parastatals and agencies, which government had decided should either be scrapped, commercialised, privatised or self-funding, were still receiving full government funding, which ran into billions of naira.

He said the committee, in the course of its assignment, noted duplication and overlap in the mandates of many parastatals and agencies, adding that successive administrations established parastatals without regard to existing laws and, in some cases, outright replicating extant laws.

He said, “One case that stands out clearly in this regard is that of the Federal Road Safety Commission, which should not be in existence in its present form.

“While acknowledging that the body has been quite active, the committee observed that what the FRSC was set up to do is a replication of the mandates of two existing bodies namely: the Highway Department of the Federal Ministry of Works with respect to the maintenance of safety and orderliness on our highways and the role of the Nigeria Police Force in ensuring law and order on our roads.

“Indeed, it is a fundamental breach of acceptable practice of good public sector governance to create a new agency or institution as a response to the seeming failure or poor performance of an existing agency in order to suit political or individual interests.

“Such a practice has proved eventually to precipitate systemic conflicts, crises and even collapse at a substantial but avoidably high financial cost to government. The setting up of the FRSC to take over partially the functions already apportioned by law to the Federal Ministry of Works and the Nigeria Police Force as a result of seeming poor performance and/or to satisfy political and individual interests is a typical example of misadventure in the Public Sector at a great cost to government.

“Meanwhile, on the one hand, other bodies have their mandates intact as the relevant provisions of their enabling laws have not been repealed. On the other hand, the same provisions have been imported into the FRSC Act, making it appear as if the intention of government is to make the FRSC have the same mandate as the bodies referred to.”

On the EFCC and ICPC, Oronsaye said, “It was noted that the functions of the EFCC and the ICPC are the traditional functions of the Nigeria Police. The Committee observed that even though the two commissions were established separately to address corruption, which the Police appeared to have failed to do, successive administrations have ironically continued to appoint the Chairman of the EFCC from the Police Force, while the methodology adopted by the ICPC in conducting investigations as well as the training of its personnel in investigation procedure is carried out by the Police.

“One wonders if it was really expedient to dismember the Nigeria Police rather than allow it to evolve as a vibrant and effective agency.”

The former HOS argued that the fact that an institution was inefficient and ineffective should not be a basis for the creation of new ones. He recalled that the officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force have been reputed for performing exceptionally and winning laurels while on international peacekeeping and other missions. This, he said, implied that the problems of the Nigeria Police were not incurable.

He said it was a reaction to symptoms rather than the diagnosis of the problem that had contributed significantly to the proliferation of parastatals and agencies. He urged government to focus on addressing and removing factors that militated against the effective performance of its agencies.

He also cited that the case of the Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited, which was established as the commercial arm of the Nigerian Space Research Development Agency, with a sunset clause, but has now expanded its scope and is in rivalry with its parent body.

While recalling that the NigComSat Bill was recently passed by the House of Representatives, Oronsaye said besides duplicating the satellite development functions of NASRDA, the Bill had created further needless duplication as it veered into the statutory functions of the National Broadcasting Commission and the Nigerian Communications Commission in the area of frequency allocation.

He noted that in this austere time, Nigeria could not afford to sustain the funding of multiple space research institutes when other more technologically advanced countries of the world, where space research was a priority, had only one.

He also highlighted the case of the Nigerian broadcasting agencies (the Nigerian Television Authority, the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria and the Voice of Nigeria), which he said the committee believed focus edmore on structures rather than acquisition of broadcasting software.

He said all over the globe, countries had made concerted efforts to manage the agencies responsible for their mass media communication by establishing and taking advantage of a single coordinating point. Such reforms in the media sector, he added, had been underpinned by the efficient use of resources and collaboration in order to have synergy amongst the operators.

In the environment sector, Oronsaye said the committee observed that the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency was created to perform a function already assigned by law to the Department of Petroleum Resources.

He said besides being a clear case of “latter-day overlapping functions” of agencies, the continued existence of NOSDRA was tantamount to paying huge salaries to persons “who do nothing but wait for spills to occur.”

This, he observed, was despite the fact that there was a standard operating procedure for oil companies in Nigeria to clean up oil spill whenever it occursed

Oronsaye further said the committee noted that the education sector in Nigeria was in a state of crisis arising from inefficient utilisation of resources, poor monitoring, falling standards and poor service delivery.  He said the problems with the sector were traceable to the neglect of the first nine years of a child’s educational experience.

These, according to him, include poor leadership, lack of appropriate and adequate infrastructure and poor teacher quality.

He said, “The consequential issues of low pupil enrolment and retention of pupils in school have further aggravated the degree of decay.  There is also an absence of a strong disciplinary process of sanctions and rewards which has resulted in the decline of integrity and discipline in our educational system.

“There are several cases of proven unwholesome practices by some principals of some Unity Schools; yet such principals have remained in post.” 

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