Ccb Amendment Act Divides Senate
SAN FRANCISCO, April 14, (THEWILL) – The Nigerian Senate is embroiled in division following a bill at the upper chamber seeking to amend the act establishing the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and its tribunal.
While majority of the Senators seem favourably disposed to the amendment, some other Senators have vehemently opposed the bill.
These lawmakers staged a walkout, on Thursday, to express their dissatisfaction with the bill, which passed second reading (despite the walkout), saying the proposed amendments was inimical to the fight against corruption.
Peter Nwaoboshi (PDP Delta north), sponsor of the bill, said the amendment would redraft section 3(d) of the act adding that the procedural codes that were being employed by the bureau's tribunal were not provided for in the nation's constitution.
“It is clear that the act does not contemplate criminal trial so the usage of criminal procedure act and the criminal procedure code should not be used as a procedural template in the tribunal,” he argued,” he said.
“In due course, I will present to this distinguished senate a comprehensive amendment of the third schedule to the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal rules of procedure which should be distinct rules for proceedings in the Code of Conduct Tribunal.”
Speaking in favour of the amendment, Dino Melaye (APC Kogi west), said: “Section 3b stipulated that before a prosecution can start, the person in question would have to be communicated and he must respond to the bureau.
“After investigation by the bureau, they will transfer for prosecution. It is stipulated that you must have a minimum of three judges before they can sit, but as it is today, we have two judges yet trial is ongoing.
“When the two judges take different positions, what happens?”
In his remarks, Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy Senate President, who presided over the session, declared that the amendment had nothing to do with the trial of the Senate President at the CCT.
“This bill will not affect the proceedings at the Code of Conduct Tribunal. We should not be afraid to do the job which the constitution has given us,” he said.
“We support the CCB and the CCT but we must make sure that in doing their work, there must be fairness and respect for human rights. We must at all times be courageous to do our work.”
The lawmakers later voted for the passage of the bill for second reading and it was then passed to the committee on ethics, privileges and public petitions and its judiciary and human rights counterpart for proper analysis.
The committees were directed to submit their reports in two weeks.
Story by David Oputah