Lawyers Condemn Saraki's Move To Weaken CCB, CCT
The Senate is passing a bill to reduce the power of the CCB and CCT
– The Senate is passing a bill to reduce the power of the CCB and CCT
– The move is suspected to frustrate the agencies because Senator Saraki is facing trial
– Professor Sagay condemns the bill and describes it as disgusting
Prof. Itse Sagay who is the chairman of the presidential advisory committee against corruption has lashed out at the Senate for making moves to reduce the powers of the Code of Conduct Bureau and the Code of Conduct Tribunal.The Nigerian Senate on Thursday, April 14, passed the Code of Conduct act for second reading under less than 72 hours.
The bill is titled: a bill for an act to amend the Code of Conduct Bureau and tribunal act CAP C15 LFN 2004 and for other related matters, 2016.The bill was sponsored by Peter Nwaoboshi representing Delta north senatorial district who said that the act does not contemplate criminal trial.
It has been speculated that the speedy passage of the bill is to save the Senate president, Bukola Saraki from the on-going trial he was facing which was brought against him by the agencies.Sagay said the move by the senators to weaken the power of the agencies showed a lack of moral sense.He said: “It’s a surprise to me, because I really don’t know that our mentality has degenerated to such a level of self-service that the people, who were sent to the National Assembly to make laws for the benefit of all Nigerians, have started a process that will allow a complete crisis; an Act that corruption cannot be prosecuted.“To me, this is the highest level of shameless misconduct by the generality of the members of the red chamber. Obviously, there is no limit to the level of disgusting things they can do.”
Mr Femi Falana said the proposal was unreasonable as it was apparently being done because of Senator Saraki. He however pointed out that the amendment would not affect any on-going trial.Falana said:“Any amendment of the law under the constitution cannot and will not have retrospective effect. The amendment will not have any effect on pending cases in court.“The excuse being advanced for the devilish agenda is jejune because the CCT, whose members are screened for appointment by the Senate, cannot be said to be under the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.“The proposed amendment also amounts to a conflict of interest because you cannot, because of one man, amend the law of the land. It will amount to an exercise in futility.”The Senators who contributed to the debate of the bill at the National Assembly applauded it as good move.The senators are: Dino Melaye, Barau Jubrin, Samuel Anyanwu, Biodun Olujimi, Buka Abba Ibrahim and Ibrahim GobirYahaya Abdullahi who is the senator representing Kebbi north however cautioned the timing of the bill. He said Nigerians might think its passage is to frustrate the trial of Saraki at the same agencies.“I just rise to raise a point of caution. I have read and gone through the areas where the amendments are sought and I am not against it, but what I have against is the timing.“We must be ready on the issue of public perception about the position of the Senate in this regard.“Perception can be reality, the Nigerian people can easily interprete the action we are taking today to mean that for all these years, a decree, which became law since 1991, is not being challenged until today because our principal officer is standing trial before the same tribunal.
“I think for the credibility of this Senate, I think we should re-examine whether the timing is right for this bill to go through the second reading or not.”Ike Ekweremadu who presided over the plenary argued that the bill has nothing to do with Saraki.“Let me just say that this bill absolutely has nothing to do with the proceedings going on at the Code of Conduct Tribunal in which the Senate President is involved because his trialhas commenced as you are aware.“If you look at the commencement of the bill of the last paragraph, of course, on the bill which says ‘this bill may be sighted as a code of conduct bureau tribunal Act amendment bill, 2016’.“That means that the bill is not being made retrospective as to affect the proceedings at the code of conduct tribunal; certainly it has nothing to do with it. We are only doing our work as parliamentarians.”