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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 11 March, 2003, 16:29 GMT
Threat to Nigeria anti-graft law

Dan Isaacs
BBC, Lagos

The lower house of the Nigerian parliament has begun to debate the possible repeal of the law which set up the country's much-criticised anti-corruption commission.

President Olusegun Obasanjo
Obasanjo is furious with anti-corruption critics

President Olusegun Obasanjo set up the commission three years ago, promising to make the fight against corruption a priority during his term of office.

The upper house of parliament, the Senate, has already voted to scrap the legislation.

It appears likely that key members of the lower house of parliament will now add their weight behind the senate.

Opposition politicians have accused investigators of targeting them rather than government supporters.

Self interest

They want the judiciary to take over the president's power to appoint commission officials.

Woman trying to make a living
Corruption is blamed by many for poor living standards

Supporters of the commission argue that it is only because it has recently launched investigations into senior members of parliament that the politicians are now trying to protect their own interests by undermining the commission's integrity.

Mr Obasanjo has reacted strongly to the moves by parliament, directly accusing members of the National Assembly of encouraging corruption.

This, more than anything else, is a political battle in the run up to next month's elections.

In any case, the work of the anti-corruption commission has not led to the conviction of a single senior public official and until it does start to show results, few will take seriously Mr Obasanjo's promise to fight the scourge of corruption in Nigeria.




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