Chukwudi Nweje, Lagos
Officers and men of Nigeria’s uniformed services have been charged to live up to the code of conduct of public officers contained in the Fifth Schedule of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Mrs Joke Fekomu, a legal officer with the Socio Economic and Accountability Project (SERAP), gave the charge at a consultative workshop for Safety, Security and Para-Military Personnel with theme ‘Curbing Corruption in Nigeria’s Political Process: Establishing a Grassroots Paradigm in Good Governance, Accountability and Transparency’ organised in Lagos by the Centre for Anti- Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) in Lagos.
She charged members of the services to read the code of conduct for public officers as well as the acts setting up their various services to farmiliarise themselves with what is expected of them.
She said, “You should read the code of conduct for public officers contained in the Fifth Schedule of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). Part 6 (1) of the code of conduct says ‘A public officer shall not ask for or accept property or benefits of any kind for himself or any other person on account of anything done or omitted to be done by him in the discharge of his duties’. It said further in Part 6 (3) that ‘a public officer shall only accept personal gifts or benefits from relatives or personal friends to such extent and on such occasions as are recognised by custom’. We don’t know this but you should know. So even when members of the public offer you gifts, you should reject ant tell them that they are breaking the law.”
She said officers of the services should not only read the code of conduct and acts of their respective agencies, but must also begin to do what the law expects of them. “Officers and men of the uniform services must be true to their oath of office,” she added.
Speaking, Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), Mr Gbenga Ogunshaki, who is the Divisional Police Office (DPO), Ikeja said the various arms of the services have a role to play in entrenching good governance and fighting corruption in Nigeria by doing the right things at the right time.
He said, “I worked with the Economic and financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for 12 years and I can tell you that some of the so-called big men in Nigeria are funding corruption. Corruption is dishonesty, you are corrupt when you take undue advantage. Any act that breaches moral peace or when you live above your means is an act of corruption.”
He charged other officers of the services to avoid greed and be contended with what they have as well as discharge their duties diligently.
Earlier, the executive chairman of CACOL, Mr Debo Adeniran, said the workshop was organised for safety, security and paramilitary personnel because they are the ones that stand in the gap to ensure order in society.
He charged the officers to stand guard and arrest and prosecute those who appropriate what does not belong to them, saying that “those who try to take more than their fair share of the common wealth are guilty of corruption.”