Towards Effective Operation of Kogi’s New Anti-Corruption Agency.

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By Dada Ahmed.

Thursday, June 20, 2024, marks a significant milestone in the fight against corruption in Kogi State, a geopolitical entity carved out of the old Kwara and Benue states on August 27, 1991, by the regime of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida.

On this day, Governor Alhaji Ahmed Usman Ododo signed into law a bill establishing the Kogi State Anti-Corruption Agency and six other bills, the first of its kind, perhaps in the life of the current administration in the state.

The historic occasion took place in the presence of the state executive council, members, the Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly, RT.Hon.Umar Yusuf and other principal officers at the Government House, Lokoja, among other stakeholders in the administration of the state.

Speaking at the occasion, the Governor described the laws as people’s laws, emphasizing that the assent to the bills were in line with his promise to lead with transparency, accountability and to be God-fearing in the governance of the state.

The other bills signed into law include:

– “A Law to repeal and Re-enact the Kogi State Scholarship Board Edict, 1998 and other matters connected therewith, 2024;”
– “A Law to establish the Kogi State Electricity Market and the Kogi State Electricity Regulatory Commission to regulate electricity generation, transmission, system operation distribution, supply, and promote access to electricity in the state through increased private sector investments or public-private partnerships in grid, multi-grid, and other off-grid electricity options using renewable and non-renewable fuel sources, 2024;”
– “A Law to establish the Kogi State Anti-Corruption Agency and other matters connected therewith, 2024;”
– “Kogi State Commodity Exchange, Export Promotion and Market Development Agency Law, 2024;”
– “The Kogi State Information Technology Development Agency Law, 2024;”
– “Kogi State Urban Planning Law, 2024;”
– “Kogi State Urban Development Law, 2024.”

The legal backing given to the Anti-Corruption Agency by Governor Ododo’s administration has received widespread acclaim with some describing the development as an avowed determination and commitment of the of the executive and the legislature to hit corruption headlong.

According to political analysts, the signing into law of the bill concerning the establishment of the Anti-Corruption Agency remain prime in the conscious efforts to reduce corruption to the tolerable level in the state.

The Executive Director of Conscience for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution (CHRCR) in Lokoja, Kogi, Mr. Idris Miliki Abdul, stated, “The signing into law of the Anti-Corruption Bill by the Kogi State governor is commendable.” He emphasized the need for a proper framework and machinery for its implementation.

According to an AI expert, the new agency, the first of its kind in the stat,will meet public expectations if it is supported by a strong legal and institutional framework. This includes robust anti-corruption laws, independence from political influence, adequate funding, skilled personnel, and transparent operations.

The language model expert has recommended Key areas which executed faithfully by the stakeholders will ensure the success of the Agency’s success.
The recommendations include:

Legal and Institutional Framework: Strong legislation to empower the agency to investigate and prosecute corruption cases.
Independence: Ensuring the agency operates free from political interference to maintain its integrity and effectiveness.
Resource Allocation: Providing sufficient funding for investigations, prosecutions, and public education.
Skilled Personnel: Hiring qualified and well-trained staff, including investigators, lawyers, and forensic experts.
Transparency and Accountability: Regular public reporting on activities to build trust and ensure accountability.
Whistleblower Protection: Establishing strong protection laws to encourage reporting without fear of retaliation.
Technology and Innovation: Utilizing advanced technology for monitoring and analyzing financial transactions.
Anonymous Reporting Systems: Developing secure platforms for citizens to report corruption anonymously.
Public Engagement and Education**: Conducting awareness campaigns to educate citizens about the impacts of corruption and the importance of reporting it.

Community Involvement: Engaging community leaders, civil society organizations, and the media to foster a culture of zero tolerance for corruption.
Collaboration and Partnerships: Working with other law enforcement and regulatory agencies to share information and resources.

Performance Metrics and Evaluation: Setting clear objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs) to assess the agency’s effectiveness.
Regular Audits: Conducting internal and external audits to identify areas for improvement.
Political Will and Support: Ensuring strong backing from the state government to demonstrate a genuine commitment to fighting corruption.

The AI expert, Political leaders and their supporters commended the legislature and the executive for ensuring the reality of the laws .
They agree that implementing these measures will significantly enhance the effectiveness of the Anti-Corruption Agency and help curb corruption to the barest minimum.

Dada Ahmed publishes The Reporters.

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