1956 Audit Law too weak to fight corruption, concerned Nigerians tell Buhari

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has been told that the existing audit law in Nigeria is too weak and obsolete to tackle today’s level of corruption in Nigeria.

Some concerned Nigerians made this call during a radio programme.

The callers asserted that Buhari‘s administration’s avowed fight against corruption cannot be effective with the government still operating a 1956 audit law.

They raised the alarm about the urgent need to strengthen the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation (AGF) to effectively fight corruption in ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of the government.


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The calls were made during an anti-corruption radio programme, PUBLIC CONSCIENCE, produced by the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development (PRIMORG) on Wednesday September 14 in Abuja.

The Programme Manager, Public Finance Management, Centre for Social Justice Nigeria (CSJN), Fidelis Onyejegbu, emphasised on the programme the importance of a new audit law, and urged President Buhari to push for the passage of a new audit bill.

Onyejegbu said, “We need a new audit law, which is not up for debate. One thing we also need to do is to see what best way to promote trust.

“If the government does not improve the trust or try to bridge the trust deficit between the leaders and the led, it will be difficult to govern at any level.

“Citizens want to hear fewer issues of missing funds. You can build trust, then govern, and you cannot do all of these without a new audit law that would oversee the expenditure of public resources.

“All of these (basic amenities) cannot be provided without public resources working for the people, and how can that happen when expenditures are not scrutinised using the tool of more modern audit legislation? And that can happen when the president signs a new audit bill into law.”

He called for inquiries into why audit bills had not been passed since Nigeria’s return to democratic rule in 1999.

“On three occasions, bills have been introduced and approved at the highest level, and it was at the desk of the president that they fell through. So, what we need to do now is to dig deeper and find out why those bills were not approved,” he added.

Commenting on the same topic, the Executive Editor at Forefront Magazine, Cobham Nsa, called on the government to make getting the nation a new audit law a priority.

Nsa said the interest of political leaders had become a major constraint to why the Office of the Auditor General for the Federation had not been strengthened over the years, and lamented that Nigerians were still suffering from financial improprieties at the various MDAs.

He noted that the reluctance of past and current heads of government to strengthen federal auditing was deliberate to enable them escape indictment by the implementation of the AGF’s report.

His words, “Nigerians have suffered from this issue of lack of implementation of the auditor-general’s report, but you have to look at it in the context of the system we are operating.

    “Someone appoints the auditor-general, and he reports not directly to the person, but to the parliament. There is a constitutional issue, a legal issue, and political issues around it.

    “I believe that the appointment into that office should be thrown open; people should apply for it, and an interview panel created to interview them, rather than having somebody to appoint someone.

    “A new audit bill should be a top priority, and the budgeting process too. The law is important. Citizens should take responsibility in asking questions about the audit.”

    Public Conscience is a syndicated weekly anti-corruption radio programme organised by PRIMORG to draw government and citizens’ attention to corruption and integrity issues in Nigeria. The programme has the support of the MacArthur Foundation.

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