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Why Spend 5 To 7 Years In Court For Issues You Can Resolve For Free? Special Interview With Nigerian Chief Ombudsman

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In pursuance to the mandate of the public complaints commission, the number one ombudsman in Nigeria honorable Chile Igbawua held a case conferencing between aggrieved staff of Immigration and Prisons and the respondents which is the Civil Defence, Fire Services, Immigration, Prisons Boards (CDFIPB)

The case involving the aggrieved staff boarders on stagnation, lack of promotion and refusal by the board of CDFIPB to pay promotion arrears of some staff back dated eight years ago.  The four aggrieved officers are senior immigration personnel who allegedly felt they are been witch hunted for no known cause by some cartel within the CDFIPB

The chief ombudsman Chile Igbawua after the submissions of the cases by the PCC investigators thanked the investigators for their proactive investigation and asked the board of CDFIPB to explain their stand on the matter involving the officers despite several attempts by the Complainants to get the board to resolve the issues,  in response the legal representative to the CDFIPB blamed technicalities and lack of vacancy within the immigration for not promoting the officers haven written the promotion exams and passed.

The chief ombudsman not satisfied with some of the reasons given by the CDFIPB SECRETARY gave the entire teams 10 working days to come back with relevant documents to support their claims.

SO HOW DOES PUBLIC COMPLAINTS COMMISSION HANDLE CASES FOR FREE?

in this special interview with East West Reporters chief OMBUDSMAN Hon. Chile Igbawua Bears it all

EWR: How do you handle Administrative Corruption?

Chief: The laws establishing every agency gives it a mandate on how it should operate, now every member of the public dealing with that agency either employed or having business to transact with that agency is entitled to be treated in accordance to the law’’ for example a contractor dealing with the ministry is entitled to be treated as the laws of contract applies. So when he gets treated in a manner he is not satisfied he can bring the complaints to the public complaints commission, now the employees of agency their appointments have terms of employment, so if they are treated outside the terms of employment and they feel that there’s injustices meted to them, they can come to public compliant commission and in all cases we deal with those matters. We start by letter writing to try to resolve the matter at that stage but where the letter writing does not end the case then we call a case conference where parties are made to appear and then state their cases and also to defend the position of cases. When the parties appear and they present their cases we look at the cases we look at the laws and we look at justices of the cases and resolve the matter and restore parties better than they started. All you need to do is just locate any of the public complaints office in your state and take the matter to them and you will get justice for free

.EWR: Wouldn’t some of these cases be clashing with court case?

CHIEF: No we won’t clash because under our law, under the act establishing PCC  if you come to us and your case  is in court we ask you to go back and conclude with the law, if the case is before the national assembly and they are dealing with it, we also don’t take it, because that’s another venue for conflicts resolutions, so if you have choose that avenue we also ask you to continue with it and if your matter is before the president, we also don’t take it we let the president makes the determinations .there will be no conflict We first determine if the case is in any these places before we continue.

We don’t observe the strict rules of court, but justice is justice whether you are administering it in the street, under a tree or in the court room, the basic rules of justice must be considered otherwise how do you determine its injustice? Its injustice when it’s not justice

What are the principles of injustices?

You must make sure that you have laid down the principles of justice and then bring the case and weigh on the scale of those principles of justice and if the weight is on the negative side you will know that injustice has been done

Like I said because our services are free and available nationwide and even in some local government areas, I always encourage Nigerians come to the public complaints commission with your complaints, whether they are against government, private companies even the small companies like local eateries, SMEs who feels offended by the terms of contract bring it to PCC. We don’t discriminate whether the case is small or big, we take it. What we are interested in is to ensure that justice is done, to everybody who is resident in Nigeria gets justice free of charge.

Let me also remind us that contract doesn’t mean it must be written, the law states that verbal contracts are actionable, even in the main court of law it’s not only written law that are enforceable, oral contracts are also enforceable so we enforce such laws, so there must be a form of agreement between the complainant and the respondent either oral or written is what is enforceable

My massage to the public is that they should take advantage of the information we are passing around and that is; you don’t have to wait for  a written contracts, Take example of small media houses and others who do not give appointment letters and engage people we have corrected them to say even when you don’t have written contract you are still bound by the templates of the contracts so you must comply with it, so don’t engage in illegal acts just because you have the PCC to take care of the case. Remember you mustn’t get a lawyer or pay anything to the commission. Come empty handed with your Complaints and we will deal with it and get justice.  

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