Home Current Issue ASSESSING THE STRENGTH AND WEAKNESSES OF THE NIGERIAN PUBLIC COMPLAINTS COMMISSION (OMBUDSMAN)...

ASSESSING THE STRENGTH AND WEAKNESSES OF THE NIGERIAN PUBLIC COMPLAINTS COMMISSION (OMBUDSMAN) By Empire H. Nyekwere, Innocent C. S. Okogbule , Ajie C. Orike

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Abstract

The Nigerian Public Complaints Commission (Ombudsman) has become a national attribute of Nigeria’s institutional frameworks. The multifaceted nature of Government and its continued influence on the lives of the citizens inform the need for a watchman (in the form of an ombudsman) that will guarantee that Government performs its daily functions with accountability, protect citizens from administrative injustice and maladministration, and ensure commitment to ethical standards by public officials. In fulfilling its mandate, the Public Complaints Commission (PCC) constitutes an essential and necessary element in the development and maintenance of transparent and accountable democratic governments in Nigeria. This paper assesses the strengths and weaknesses of Nigerian PCC. The doctrinal research methodology is adopted in this study. This research methodology is library-oriented research by which primary research materials such as statutes and law reports are resorted to. Secondary materials such as textbooks, law journals containing articles related to the study, seminar papers, manuscripts, and newspapers are also used in this research. This paper finds that the strengths of the Nigerian PCC lie in its status as federal legislation, the power to initiate investigation, the power to penalize false complaints, the power to summon or compel attendance, and immunity from the legal process. This paper further finds that the weaknesses of the Nigerian PCC lie in the restriction on the powers of the Commission to investigate particular matters, lack of punitive power to prosecute offenders and enforce its decisions, lack of total independence from the Government, inadequate funding, and lack of publicity. This paper concludes with recommendations on what must be done to make the Nigerian PCC carry out its mandate more effectively.

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