The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), last Wednesday, organised a one-day enlightenment campaign on the need for compliance by staff of the National Universities Commission and the entire country with the code of conduct for public servants.
Delivering his lecture from the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, the representative of the CCB, Mr. Obi said that the essence of the enlightenment campaign was to ensure that public servants adhere strictly to the ethics, laid down rules and regulations as well as the codes of conduct in the discharge of government business. This, he said, became necessary in order to deal with the complaints of corruption and abuse of office by some public servants, adding that “the aims and objectives of the Bureau shall be to establish and maintain a high standard of morality in the conduct of government business and to ensure that the actions and behaviour of public officers conform to the highest standards of public morality and accountability.”
Mr. Obi said that the Code of Conduct for public officers comprises of fourteen Codes that include Assets Declaration (AD), which every public officer was expected to adhere to, in the conduct of his official duties. Essentially, he said, the 14 codes were meant to ensure that the actions and behaviours of public officers conform to the highest standards of public morality and accountability. The Code of Conduct is also meant to discourage public officers from the culture of graft, greed, materialism, ill-gotten wealth and conflict of interest in the performance of public duties. The CCB campaigner took the NUC staff through the 14 steps and provided relevant examples for better understanding.
Mr. Obi said that the strategic objective of the enlightenment campaign was to ensure strict compliance with the statutory mandate of the Bureau in accordance with international best practices, saying that asset declaration was expected to be done every four years. In addition, he said, this was also to ensure that all public officers in the federation comply with the constitutional provisions on Asset Declaration, educate and sensitise public officers on their constitutional responsibilities and the consequences of non-compliance with the code of conduct for public officers.
He gave an incisive and analytical insights based on practical operations and experience on the technical issues associated with the constitutional provisions of the Code of Conduct for public officers. He explained that the process of submitting the duly completed Asset Declaration Form was reviewed and made easier and could be concluded in a matter of hours.
The Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, mni, MFR, represented by the Director, Management Support Services, Barr. Victor U. Onuoha, while welcoming the team and making his remarks expressed the hope that the enlightenment would afford staff of the Commission the opportunity to listen to the Code of Conduct Bureau officers on the rules and conduct expected from public officers. He mentioned that the enlightenment campaign was timely and in consonance with the current Government’s resolve to be proactive in tackling corruption and corrupt officers. The Director assured the NUC staff that they would be properly guided and thoroughly informed on not only Asset declaration procedure but actions and behaviours expected of any public officer in active service and to some extent even after retirement. He urged staff to listen attentively and internalize what would be explained to them.
While taking NUC staff on the Procedure of proper manner of completing the Asset Declaration Form (ADF), the CCB officer, Mr. M. Okwuse explained that the form was designed to monitor public servants regardless of rank. The ADF spelt out what should be declared including assets and properties of spouses and dependants provided such persons were not employed and /or under 18 years of age. The CCB officer informed the gathering that the form provided limited spaces, however, officers filling the form were required to photocopy, fill and attach any additional information deemed to be necessary in pursuant of this act.
Mr. Okwuse concluded by saying that the ADF should be filled after every four years, stressing that those who took up appointments recently and those who filled prior to 2013 were encouraged to pick up the forms, fill and sign before a High Court Judge before submitting same copies to CCB. The officer who submitted the ADF should collect an acknowledgement receipt as evidence of compliance with the provisions of the CCB.
In a vote of thanks, the Deputy Director, Establishment and Staff matters, Mr. Wilbor Nnaji appreciated the CCB officials for the timely enlightenment and education. He enjoined staff of the Commission to comply with the provisions of the code of conduct and fill their asset declaration appropriately and thanked everybody for being part of the exercise.