The Code of Conduct Bureau has directed former ministers, ex-lawmakers and other former political office holders to declare their assets within the next three months.
The Nation reported that the directive is in conformity with the 1999 Constitution, which empowers the bureau to vet the assets of public officers.
In line with the constitution, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima have declared their assets, as well as the 36 governors of the Federation.
On May 31, Buhari returned his asset forms with a statement that he has “taken no loans and he has no liability.”
A CCB source said, “These former public officers have a deadline of three moths to do so. We are hopeful that they will adhere to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution or else they will face the wrath of the law.”
Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution empowers the CCB to receive asset declaration by any public officer.
From the list in Part II of the Fifth Schedule to 1999 Constitution, about 16 categories of public officers are bound by the Code of Conduct.
They include the President, Vice President, the President of the Senate, Deputy President of the Senate, the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and all members of the legislative houses, governors and deputy governors.
Others are the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justices of the Supreme Court, the President and Justices of the Court of Appeal, all other judicial officers and all staff of the court of law; the Attorney-General of the Federation and Attorney-General of each state.
The list covers the Ministers of the Government of the Federation, and commissioners of the governments of the states, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chairmen and board members of all government agencies, Ambassadors, High Commissioners and other officers of Nigerian missions abroad.
Other officers affected are the Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, Chief of Air Staff and all members of the Armed Forces of the Federation.
The constitution says, “Subject to the provision of this Constitution, every public officer shall within three months after the coming into force of this Code of Conduct or immediately after taking office and thereafter (a) at the end of every four years; and (b) at the end of his term of office, submit to the Code of Conduct Bureau a written declaration of all his properties, assets, and liabilities and those of his unmarried children under the age of eighteen years.
“The Bureau shall have power to receive declaration by public officers made under paragraph 12 of part 1 of the Fifth Schedule to this Constitution.
“Examine the declarations in accordance with the requirements of the Code of Conduct or any law.
“Retain custody of such declarations and make them available for inspection by any citizen of Nigeria on such terms and conditions as the National Assembly may prescribe.
“Ensure compliance with and, where appropriate, enforce the provisions of the Code of Conduct or any law relating thereto.
“Any statement in such declaration that is found to be false by any authority or person authorised in that behalf to verify it shall be deemed to be a breach of this Code.
“Any property or assets acquired by a public officer after any declaration required under this Constitution and which is not fairly attributable to income, gift, or loan approved by this Code shall be deemed to have been acquired in breach of this Code unless the contrary is proved.
“Receive complaints about non-compliance with or breach of the Provisions of the Code of Conduct or any law in relation thereto. Investigate the complaint and, where appropriate, refer such matters to the Code of Conduct Tribunal.”
The bureau said it has recorded 99% success from office holders.
It also issued advisory to all the 37 Chief Judges in the country not to allow any political office holder to take the oath of office without asset declaration.
But the bureau said Tinubu and other declarants are at liberty to either or not release the details of their assets to the public.
According to investigation, the Chairman of CCB, Prof. Isah Mohammed personally coordinated the asset declaration procedures for the President and his deputy.
It was learnt that all other Federal Commissioners of CCB were deployed in the six geo-political zones to coordinate asset declaration by governors and others.
To ensure compliance at the state level, the CCB sent an advisory to all the 36 state Chief Judges and the Federal Capital Territory not to administer oath of office on any governor or public officer without declaration of assets.
An unnamed source said, “I think the measures put in place by the CCB Chairman and his board members have really worked. The bureau has so far recorded 99% compliance with asset declaration provision in the constitution.
“All the Chief Judges cooperated with the bureau and the method has worked because all public officers were asked to respect the law.
“The advisory to the CJs is still subsisting because more appointments may be made at the Federal and state levels.”
The publication reported that the Chairman of CCB, Prof. Isah Mohammed said, “CCB has achieved 99% compliance. We have recorded drastic improvement on all the procedures we put in place.
“In fact, since 2019, Asset Declaration by public officers have been encouraging.”