Ombudsman Is a Laudable Institution Although It Has Failed Woefully in Nigeria- Discuss.

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SCHOOL OF POST GRADUATE STUDIES

UNIVERSITY OF LAGOS, AKOKA

FACULTY OF LAW

COURSE: ADMINISTRATIVE LAW II

TOPIC: OMBUDSMAN IS A LAUDABLE INSTITUTION ALTHOUGH IT HAS FAILED WOEFULLY IN NIGERIA- DISCUSS.

PROGRAMME: LL.M

NAME: THELMA IFEYINWA MAFUA

MATRIC NO. 099061003

LECTURER: DR. AMUSA

CONTENTS

1. INTRODUCTION

2. HISTORY OF THE OMBUDSMAN

3. FEATURES, MANDATE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE OMBUDSMAN

4. THE OMBUDSMAN INSTITUTION IN NIGERIA

5. THE IMPACT AND FAILURE OF OMBUDSMAN IN NIGERIA

6. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

INTRODUCTION

With the existence of a great bureaucracy in twentieth century Nigeria, there are inevitable occasions when through deliberate exercise of power, error or sheer indifference, injustice is done. A man of substance can deal, if he chooses to, with such situations. He can afford to pursue legal remedies as may be available. But too often the little man, the ordinary humble citizen, is incapable of asserting himself whether under a Civilian Government or a Military regime, but more so under a Military Government whether benevolent or dictatorial. Therefore, in order to protect the ordinary citizen from undue influence, negligence, error or maladministration by government officials and staff of parastatal organizations, the Federal Military Government rightly promulgated the Public Complaints Commission Decree (Now Act) 31, 1975.

The office of the ombudsman in the public service of African States, have over the years been wobbling in its performance. The reasons being largely as a result of over-centralization of government, bureaucratization and the unwillingness of government to become truly democratic. The resultant effect has been that many citizens in African States cannot meaningfully seek redress against maladministration nor can they complain about poor governance and services delivery.

Public servants in African States should be perceived as existing to help citizens and not to make their lives difficult. That the office of the ombudsman needs to be strengthened so that all the tenets of a credible public service would be seen to be present and working to the advantage of all. This will help to put a check on government activities in the interest of the citizens, and thus help to address the problems of human rights abuses, lack of accountability and the absence of good governance.

A continental resurgence of interest has taken grip on the need to establish the office of the ombudsman as an instrument of Public Defender that would thus prevent unethical practices in Africa’s public services. The office of the ombudsman it is hoped would help the African public service to enthrone a self-check that would enforce accountability, prevent corruption and guide against maladministration.

Apart from a history of individual case studies of countries on their own instituting the portfolio of the ombudsman into their public sector practice in Africa, a wholesome approach to building an alternative mechanism for protecting the ordinary citizens against powerful state bureaucracies have not become popular.

However, national governments as well as some international organizations have started creating anti-corruption agencies and ethical bodies with large sums of money committed into the projects to bring about good governance and good ethical practices in Africa’s public institutions. Examples of these bodies are the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Bank, the Commonwealth, the African Association for Public Administration and Management, amongst others. What comes from these sharing of opinions between state organs and international agencies is the fact that there is the need for the institution of the ombudsman to be strengthened throughout Africa.

The situation before now has been very pitiable. This is because; the institution of the ombudsman has been non-existent in many countries in Africa....
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