By Brenda Chidinma Imoeze
Public Complaint Commission has resolved 350 cases since June 27, 2018 in Ebonyi State, the commissioner in charge of the State, Prof. Michael Awoke, disclosed.
In an interview with The Voice Newspaper, he stated that since his arrival as the commissioner in 2018, out of the 510 total cases received from both public and private concerns, the commission has been able to resolve 350 cases with 160 others ongoing.
He explained that among cases solved were allegations bothering on extortion of money from visitors by some prison officers in Abakaliki prisons, and the alleged threat of life and refusal to handover properties and money to democratically elected committee members of Ebonyi State House of Assembly Staff Cooperative Thrift and Credit Society, among others.
He decried lack of compliance from the respondents, as they fail to appear before the commission to settle cases, adding that the commission shall prosecute anyone by instituting criminal proceedings on any who contravene the sections of public complaints commission act.
Revealing that the commission, established by Decree 31 of 1975, is charged with the sole responsibility to investigate and redress all administrative injustices in any level of government agencies as well as private organisations. “Problems related to possible suppression, extortion, non-payment of salary as regards to their entitlements. This commission covers not just State, but the local government. This commission is prepared to address problems that are affecting them at no cost. We have staff that are readily available,”he said.
Stating that the commission is on top gear to look into the extortion ongoing in public schools and tertiary institutions where teachers extort their students’ and lecturers extort students for grades and for supervision of projects and thesis.
Adding, “If such cases are being reported in this commission, this commission would take it very seriously no matter who is very much involved in public schools, primary schools and even in the university. So there should be sanity in our academic environment, especially where it protects the interest of the poor ones. This is our next line of action.”
While revealing that, in spite of the role the commission plays in achieving administrative justice, the commission still face mammoth challenges which most times impend their activities.
Among the challenges faced is lack of funds, adding that the commission is run as a charitable organisation and sometimes lack the fund to operate, as well as operational vehicle to carry out on the spot investigation, lack of compliance from the respondents.
He however, urged the media to assist in creating awareness on the functions of the commission to enable residents of the State benefit from its activities.