Buhari Urges National Assembly to Fast-Track Passage of Special Crimes Court Bill

President Muhammadu Buhari has called on the National Assembly to fast-track the passage of the Special Crimes Court Bill.

Speaking at the National summit on ‘‘Diminishing Corruption in the Public Service’’ organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in collaboration with the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation on Tuesday in Abuja, the President also urged the judiciary to embrace and support the creation of Special Crimes Court.

He also noted that the fight against corruption is, of course, adding that all arms and tiers of government must develop and implement the anti-corruption measures.

READ: Osinbajo’s Aides Were Not Sacked – Buhari

‘‘I invite the legislative and judicial arms of government to embrace and support the creation of Special Crimes Court that Nigerians have been agitating for to handle corruption cases.’’

Speaking further, President Buhari noted that the passage of the Bill was a ‘‘specific priority’’ of this administration’s Economic Recovery & Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020.

He also directed ICPC to beam its searchlight on public institutions that are yet to comply with the recent directive to enrol into the Integrated Payroll, and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) and noted that the new directive on IPPIS was intended to halt the padding of personnel budgets and the diversion or misappropriation of capital budgets.

‘‘I am aware that the Commission recently conducted System Studies and Review of many MDAs to evaluate systems and processes relating to transparency and accountability in personnel and capital spending through which you successfully blocked over N9 billion from being diverted from 2019 personnel budget.

‘‘That was a proactive prevention measure. I have directed that all agencies of government must get on the IPPIS to eliminate the padding of personnel budgets.

The President also used the occasion, which marked the launch of the Constituency Projects Transparency Group (CPTG) Report Phase One, to reiterate his appeal to all well-meaning Nigerians to join in the fight against corruption.

‘‘The war against corruption cannot be won without prevention, enforcement, public education and enlightenment.

‘‘I encourage the ICPC and other law enforcement agencies to intensify their efforts in public education, enlightenment and engagement with citizens.

‘‘I also urge our development partners, civil society organisations, and the media to continue to support our efforts to strengthen ethical values and integrity in Nigeria,’’ he said.

READ: Presidency Speaks on Sack of Osinbajo’s Aides

Buhari also commended the new Board of the anti-graft agency for major enforcement and preventive initiatives including the System Study Review, tracking of Zonal Intervention Projects, otherwise called Constituency Projects, and collaboration with the National Social Investment Office.

‘It is on record that in the past ten years One trillion naira (N1trillion) has been appropriated for constituency projects yet the impact of such huge spending on the lives and welfare of ordinary Nigerians can hardly be seen.

‘‘The first phase report of tracking these projects by ICPC confirms our worst fears that people at the grassroots have not benefited in terms commensurate with the huge sums appropriated for constituency projects since inception.

‘‘I am , therefore, delighted that through the effort of ICPC some contractors are returning to the site to execute projects hitherto abandoned and that project sponsors are being held to account.

‘‘The ICPC has my full support and the support of this government to hold fully to account contractors, complicit public servants and project sponsors who divert funds meant for constituencies or other people-oriented welfare projects of our government or who by other means reduce the quality and value of such projects meant for our people.’’

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