The Public Complaints Commission (Nigeria)
The Nigerian Public Complaints Commission was established under Decree No. 31 of 1975 and incorporated into the 1979 Constitution. As an ombudsman, the major aim of the commission is to check the excess of government officials.
In this regard, the commission has the power to receive and investigate any complaints made by any person in respect of an administrative action taken against him by a government ministry, department, parastatal, and any person or servant of any of the aforesaid institution or organization.
In performing its investigative functions, the commission can compel the attendance of any person so required to give evidence, supply information or produce evidence. Any person who fails to comply with the summons may be charged for contempt in a court of law.
The Nigeria Public Complaints Commission cannot, however, investigate any of the following, namely,
- A case which is pending before the commission or a court that is against a member of the Armed Forces or the Nigeria Police, in which the complainant has not exhausted all available administrative procedures.
- The Nigeria Public Complaints Commission cannot investigate where the complaint is lodged more than 24 months after the act or thing complained about was done.
- The Nigeria Public Complaints Commission cannot investigate where the complainant has no personal interest.
The Chief Commissioner is the head of the Commission which also has a Commissioner from each state of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The commissioners are required to be persons of unquestionable integrity.
Besides, the Chief Commissioner must be at least 50 years old, while a commissioner must not be less than 40 years old. Like many other executive bodies, the activities of the Public Complaints Commission are shrouded in secrecy. It is essentially a dead rubber.
The mandate of the Commission is too wide as it has to investigate complaints made against all categories of public agencies and public officials as well as private sector providers.