An anti corruption group, Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) has tasked the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to probe the dismissed officials of the National Examination Council (NECO)
In a release signed by it’s Chairman, Olanrwaju Suraju, in Lagos over the weekend, HEDA asked the ICPC to carry out the investigation on the dismissed officials.
The group said the dismissal of the said officials from service was not enough punitive action and that without sanctions as dictated by law, a wrong precedence would be set..
Seventy staff of the NECO were dismissed by the agency’s internal system mid last month, following outcries over forged certificates.
Established in April 1999, NECO is Nigeria’s second most influential secondary examination regulatory body, next only to the West African Examination Council (WAEC) established in 1952.
The officials were said to have forged credentials and were mandated to appear before the management committee during which some of the staff allegedly confessed to the criminal act.
This prompted the Governing Board of NECO to review the report and approved the dismissal of the affected staff.
Suraju made reference to Section 25 (1)(b) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000, which states that offenders, if found guilty, shall on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding N100,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two (2) years or to both such fine and imprisonment.
HEDA Chairman said that the NECO officials allegedly dismissed are public officers and the Commission as stated in Section 6 of Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 is saddled with the responsibility to investigate and prosecute offenders.
“We believe the allegations are within the purview of the offences contemplated by the Commission as stated in Section 25 (1(a) & (b)) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000. We must not sweep this legal obligation under the carpet” he stated.
HEDA said the Commission should, therefore, visit its powers as vested in Section 27 (1-4) of the Act, 2000 to investigate this case being reported to the Commission.
The group said since the allegations were made against public officers, it recommended “the above report for diligent investigation to uncover the true position.”
It said the petition was sent in the spirit of patriotism and that HEDA remains committed to ridding the country of corruption and corrupt practices.
It added “we are desirous of seeing accountability, integrity, probity and transparency enforced across all levels of the governments”