Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, yesterday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to strengthen the independence of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for effective functioning.
Speaking, yesterday, in Abuja, at the beginning of a two-day National Assembly dialogue on economy, security and development, organized by the National Institute for Legislative Studies (NILS), Dogara, who called for the strengthening of these agencies, said that the enduring fight against corruption must be waged through the instrumentality of law and legislation, stressing that people could only be accountable when the law was clear and enforced fairly and firmly.
“While we await the decision of the President on whether to merge EFCC and ICPC, the urgent legislative undertaking now, is to strengthen the independence and impartiality of the Heads of these agencies by requiring the consent of the Senate to their appointment and removal from office.
“This will ensure that they are not whimsically removed when they disagree with a sitting President,” the Speaker said.
Dogara also called on the president, to, as a matter of urgency, transmit a new Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to the National Assembly for early passage.
“We cannot meaningfully discuss the improvement of the national economy without discussing priority legislation in this field. Undoubtedly, one of the most important pieces of legislation is the Petroleum Industry Bill,” he said.
“This is necessary because Oil and Gas still accounts for over 70% of our foreign exchange earnings in spite of the rapid fall in oil prices. We therefore cannot afford not to organize the sector in such a manner as to benefit the nation.”