MESSAGE FROM THE HONOURABLE COMMISSIONER, PUBLIC COMPLAINTS COMMISSION, ADAMAWA STATE OFFICE

Hon. Manasseh N. MichealGreetings from the Land of Beauty. I feel elated to deliver my message from Adamawa State where I have been holding office as the Honourable Commissioner since 2012. Four years ago, Public Complaints Commission had no Chief Commissioner and Commissioners for 18 years due to constitutional hitches to those appointments. Fortunately, all constraints have been removed through the National Assembly as the Act establishing the Public Complaints Commission was streamlined and today the role of the Commission as an Ombudsman is being played efficiently and effectively.

The take-off of Public Complaints Commission and its relocation from the Presidency into the ambit of the National Assembly under a democratic dispensation has redefined our role as an Ombudsman with additional tasks as protector of the masses, emancipator of the downtrodden, the little man’s friend, the civil servants’ guardian, etc.

The public should as a matter of interest know that the Public Complaints Commission is mandated through an act of the National Assembly to investigate and conduct researches in government ministries and agencies; and private companies, and the officials of those bodies. To this effect, the Commissioner has the right to have access to all information and to go public with the reports.

I wish to express my heartfelt appreciation to the Chief Commissioner of Public Complaints Commission, my Commissioner colleagues and my staff in Adamawa State for the moral and financial support.

Finally, I call on the Government and the people of Adamawa State to avail themselves of the opportunity to report their grievances to the Public Complaints Commission and be assured of getting redress.

THE METAMORPHOSIS OF PUBLIC COMPLAINTS COMMISSION By Yakubu Abdullahi Yakubu

In April 2018, the Public Complaints Commission bade a tearful farewell to its Chief Commissioner and 36 Commissioners of the states of the federation and FCT Abuja after serving out their full terms of office as stipulated in the Public Complaints Commission Act. As the saying goes – nature abhors a vacuum. Conversely, staff and management of Public Complaints Commission jumped for joy when the news broke of the appointment of a new Chief Commissioner and Commissioners a month later.

According to the list of appointments approved by the National Assembly, the new Chief Commissioner was named as Hon. Chile Igbawua, a former House of Representatives member and former Chief of Staff to the former Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal. For Adamawa State Office, Mr. Michael Manassah, was appointed the new Commissioner. Mr. Manassah and his counterparts from other states and the new Chief Commissioner were inaugurated at the National Assembly in May 2018 by the Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki; joined by his colleague, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara. The two leaders of the National Assembly called on the new appointees to be the true Nigeria Ombudsmen and protect the rights of the ordinary citizens when faced with administrative injustice in their places of work.

Public Complaints Commission as a Federal Government agency used to be under the Presidency but with the coming of full-fledged democracy in 1999, it came under the National Assembly to function properly and serve the people without government interference. Under the PCC Act, the Commission has the power to act as a Statutory Ombudsman for Nigeria. According to the law, it must have access to all information that will assist it in the performance of its duties. Furthermore, it can make public its reports after investigation and make recommendations after due investigation to the appropriate and responsible authority. The Commission shall prosecute offenders who block the investigation process.

When Mr. Manassah came knocking on the doors of the Public Complaints Commission Adamawa State Office in Yola, he was welcomed by the Director, Mrs. Hannatu James, and the management staff. After receiving the hand-over notes left by the out-gone Commissioner, Alhaji Dahiru Bobbo, the new Commissioner was briefed on the workings, mandate, problems and prospects of the Commission. On his part, Mr. Manassah assured his staff he would operate an open-door policy and listen to the problems or complaints of the staff. His priorities, he said, were staff welfare, publicity, and logistics to investigation officers. Mr. Manassah is coming in as Ombudsman with 35 years’ experience in the Adamawa State Civil Service and Federal Medical Center, Yola. He has expertise in the medical profession and hospital administration, which involves a lot of problem solving, conflict resolution, arbitration and interpersonal communication.

Public Complaints Commission was established in 1975 by the Federal Military Government when General Murtala Mohammed was Head of State. The Commission was meant to act as a bridge between the elite and the downtrodden in the society; therefore, it was recommended that only men and women of integrity should be appointed to hold office in the Commission. In light of this, the late Alhaji Maitama Yusuf became the first Chief Commissioner of the Commission due to his good record in public service and unblemished personality. He and his Commissioners were thus given wide powers to inquire into complaints by members of the public concerning the administrative action of any public authority and companies or their officials. This has remained so far the past 43 years.

Commissioners have powers through the PCC Act to investigate administrative acts that may be contrary to any law or regulations. There are some laws that are unreasonable, unfair, oppressive or inconsistent with what is obtainable. Therefore, the Commissioners have the power to investigate and take action on them. Commissioners are permitted by law to have access to all information necessary for the efficient performance of their duties and to visit and inspect premises belonging to any person or organization. Commissioners can investigate administrative procedures of any court of law in Nigeria and have immunity against any legal process until the case is concluded at the Commission.

Through the defunct Gongola State to Adamawa State (from 1976 to date), the Public Complaints Commission Office had six past Commissioners. They were Alhaji Abdullahi Dan Buram Jada, 1976-1981; Alhaji Muktari Bello, 1981-1984; Alhaji Saidu Zakari Mohammed, 1985-1991; Alhaji Inuwa Njidda, 1992-1998; and Alhaji Dahiru Bobbo OFR, 2012-2018. The tenure for the Chief Commissioner and Commissioners is three years subject to renewal for another three years. Two terms is the limit for appointees.

Public Complaints Commission has its national headquarters at Maitama District, Abuja, the nation’s capital. The Adamawa Office is located off Kashim Ibrahim Way, adjacent to Adamawa State Pension Board, Jimeta – Yola. The office is divided into five sections – Investigation, Administration, Accounts, Legal and Information. There are five area offices in the state. i) Ganye Area Office handles Ganye and Toungo Local Government Areas. ii) Mayo Belwa Area Office takes charge of Mayo-Belwa and Jada Local Government Areas. iii) Numan Area Office has Numan, Demsa, Lamurde, Guyuk and Shelleng Local Government Areas. iv) Gombi Area Office supervises Gombi, Song and Hong Local Government Areas. v) Mubi Area Office controls Mubi North, Mubi South, Michika, Madagali, and Maiha Local Government Areas. vi) The State office in Yola takes care of the remaining four Local Government Areas, thus Girei, Yola North, Yola South and Fufore.

Public Complaints Commission has articulated, through its mission and vision, its stand as Ombudsman, human rights campaigner, whistle-blower and anti-corruption fighter, and arbiter. Its mission is to promote an effective and efficient service that is responsible and responsive to the needs of the citizenry through investigation and resolution of complaints against Federal, State, and Local Governments, Public Corporations and Private Sector Organizations and their Officials. Similarly, the Commission’s vision is to restore the dignity of man through the enthronement of the Rule of Law and the protection of individuals and organizations against administrative injustice.

As its core mandate, the Public Complaints Commission has investigated and resolved thousands of cases. The Commission receives complaints from different parts of the society on different kinds of issues. Most of them have to do with non-refund from National Housing Savings, non-payment of salary, complaint on wrongful dismissal from service, complaint on non-payment of pension, non-payment of allowance, non-payment of death benefit, non-payment of pension balance, non-payment of deceased gratuity, non-payment of land compensation, complaint on wrongful termination of appointment, etc. The respondents are usually federal ministries/departments/agencies, state ministries/departments/agencies, local governments, traditional councils, educational institutions, companies, banks and individuals.

On assumption of office, Mr. Manassah, in the company of his management staff paid courtesy visits to important public officials to acquaint them with the workings of the commission and its mandate. He has visited the Adamawa State Governor, Sen. Mohammed Umaru Jibrilla ably represented by the Deputy Governor, Martins Babale at the Government House, Yola; the Head of Service, and the heads of the media houses including ABC Yola, ATV Yola, FRCN Fombina Yola at various times.

There are some challenges facing the Public Complaints Commission such as the lack of funds to undertake investigation into complaints expeditiously and the lack of operational vehicles for investigation officers. However, under the new leadership, the Commission has already made changes in its structure and operations. At a plenary session of the Commission recently, the Chief Commissioner noted that not less 500 cases were reported since January with majority of them being resolved. Most of these cases were from the public sector, while the few that came from the private sector had more or less to do with termination of appointments. An issue that dominated the plenary session was the reluctance of respondents to resolve complaints in spite of letters and case conferences. This nonchalant attitude might require the amendment of the PCC Act to guarantee stricter sanctions for such respondents.

Due to the success of the plenary session of August 2018, the Commission plans to hold such sessions every two months and rotated between the six geopolitical zones to feel the pulse of all states instead of meeting in Abuja only. Moreover, the plenary sessions would be assisted by the work of six committees at the national headquarters run by the Commissioners. These are the Finance, Establishment, Publicity, Ethics and Welfare and Investigation Committees. For further administrative ease, the post of Head of Administration changed its nomenclature from Coordinating Director to Secretary to the Commission.

More positive changes, coming to Public Complaints Commission include the treatment of complaints online, better interaction between the national headquarters and the 36 states and Abuja. On the welfare of staff, the commission has decided promotion letters would be processed immediately after the sitting of promotion examinations. As from 2019, the promotion exercise shall be completed by March. What’s more, the outstanding First 28 Days Allowance and other allowances would be cleared as soon as the 2018 budget was implemented fully.

Public Complaints Commission is indeed undergoing metamorphosis. In the past one year, the commission received and investigated 2715 complaints dealing with the non-payment and delay of pension and gratuities. So far, 2330 cases have been resolved and only 485 are pending. Due to the focus on pensions, the commission will embark on systematic investigation and review of the pension sector with reference to Direct Benefit Scheme (DBS) to enable the commission have an in-depth research and open forum with stakeholders in the pension sector. In its innovative stride, Public Complaints Commission is preparing to participate actively in the 2019 General Elections and even assist during hearings at Election Petition Tribunals for aggrieved contestants.

Yakubu Abdullahi Yakubu is Chief Information Officer, Public Complaints Commission, Adamawa State Office, Yola.


 

CONTACT US

PUBLIC COMPLAINTS COMMISSION
(The Nigerian Ombudsman),
Adamawa State Office,
P.M.B. 2105,
By Sir Kashim Ibrahim Way,
Behind Adamawa State Pension Board,
Yola, Adamawa State.

Email: adamawa@pcc.gov.ng

Telephone: 0803 223 1998, 0803 065 3406


 

AREA OFFICES

PUBLIC COMPLAINTS COMMISSION
Youth Plaza
Opposite Mayo Belwa Police Division,
By Old Market, Mayo Belwa Town
Mayo Belwa Local Government Secretariat
Telephone: 0703 558 7683 (Yusuf Bello)

PUBLIC COMPLAINTS COMMISSION
Ganye Local Government Secretariat,
Ganye.
Telephone: 0806 913 5096 (Isma’il Garbel)

PUBLIC COMPLAINTS COMMISSION
Gombi Local Government Secretariat,
Gombi.
Telephone: 0816 89 1100 (Yunusa Musa)

PUBLIC COMPLAINTS COMMISSION
Numan Local Government Secretariat,
Numan.
Telephone: 0807 308 1494 (Helepila Penuel)

PUBLIC COMPLAINTS COMMISSION
Opposite Adamawa State University
Mubi North Local Government
Telephone: (Mohammed Ahmed)