By Raphael Jov, Abuja
The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) in partnership with Transparency International (TI) has launched a legal centre named Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre (ALAC) for witnesses of corruption related complaints in the country.
It said the centre was established to provide free and confidential legal advice to witnesses and victims of corruption thereby empowering citizens in the fight against corruption, adding that ALAC would also play a critical role in identifying corruption hotspots that demand reform or official action by receiving reports from citizens on corrupt practices and forwarding to the relevant authorities for investigation and redress.
Speaking at the launch of the centre on Friday in Abuja, Executive Director, CISLAC, Auwal Ibrahim Musa noted that a society like Nigeria where the structures for governance are skewed and it is expedient for citizens to begin to demand accountability from the government, stressing that there has been the need for both governments’ at the federal, state and local levels, as well as the array of committed civil society partners to rise up to advocate for and deal with issues of integrity, transparency and accountability.
He said: “The importance of ALAC in the fight against corruption is that for those ordinary Nigerians who are not living in Abuja or even if they are living in Abuja, they don’t know how to state genuine complaints either extortions, human rights abuses they can be able to send it to us and we will be able to investigate and take it to the appropriate agencies of government who deals with corruption cases.
“It aims to create more awareness on the existence of the centre and further solidify the relationship and create a synergy between the ALAC and all the various institutions we are collaborating with toward empowering citizens to participate in the fight against corruption, promoting integrity, accountability and transparency amongst citizens, in public and private sector.
Musa added that the centre has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), National Orientation Agency (NOA), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and National Human Rights Commission to support the efforts of government in dealing with issues of corruption and also issues of human rights abuses.
In his goodwill message, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Public Complaint Rapid Response Unit (PCRRU) Abayomi Shogunle said in the last two years the Nigeria Police have been able to recover N11.1 million from officers and ten officers dismissed from corruption related offences from the force.