Home Government Public Complaints Commission (Ombudsman): Definition & Functions

Public Complaints Commission (Ombudsman): Definition & Functions



The public complaints commission or the ombudsman is the institution established by the federal government to entertain from citizens, complaints of injustice, corruption, unfair treatment and abuse of office by public officers.


The commission is to investigate such cases and to recommend steps towards discipline or correction of the situation.

Functions of the Public Complaints Commission in Nigeria

The commission is empowered to:

  1. Entertain grievances and complaints of citizens against public servants.
  2. Investigate such cases of corruption, bribery and nepotism or favoritism against public servants.
  3. Also investigate cases of incompetence, use of false documents and inconsistency in the application of civil service rules by civil servants.
  4. Investigate loss of documents and vital papers in the civil service and government owned corporations.
  5. See to the arrest and prosecution of public officers who infringe upon the laws of the country.
  6. Suggest some changes in the laws of the country, so as to improve the efficiency of the public service.
  7. Help redress the abuses suffered by the citizens i the hands of public servants.

Limitations of the Powers of the Public Complaints Commission

  1. The commission cannot enforce its decisions and recommendations. These are left to the government to decide upon.
  2. The commission could not reverse or probe the decisions or actions of the courts, the president, governors, ministers, commissioners, judges or such other government officials in top, sensitive political positions.
  3. The emphasis on state security and national interest limits the access of the ombudsman to vital records, information and documents.
  4. The commission could not compel people to appear before it and this may limit the extent of its thoroughness in some cases.


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