Anti-graft watchdog, the Coalition against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) has described the bill for the amendment of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and the Code of Conduct Tribunal Act (CCT) as a disservice to the nation.
The amendment bill seeks to restrict the role of the CCB to receiving declarations by public officers made under paragraph 12 of Part 1 of the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution and examining the declarations in accordance with the requirements of the code of conduct or any law.
However, CACOL said the bill, which passed to the Second Reading barely 48 hours after its presentation, is a calculated attempt to frustrate the constitutional role of the CCB in the battle against corruption as well as whittling down the agencies’ powers.
It alleged that the bill coming at a time Senator Bukola Saraki, the Senate President is being tried at the CCT “must obviously be a script written from the dirtiest and most shameless part of the pith of hell. It is a move that resoundingly ranks the present Senate as the most shameless and inept Senate in the annals of Nigeria’s political history.”
Mr. Debo Adeniran, the Coalition’s Executive Chairman, said in Lagos that: “The blunt truth is that, the fact that this is coming up at a crucial point when the trial of the Senate President at the CCT is at a crescendo is no coincidence, for it is clear to the discerning that it is a conscious and orchestrated attempt to frustrate the judicial trial of Dr. Bukola Saraki, the Senate President over corruption charges. When you genuinely fight corruption, corruption and corrupt elements fights back viciously and shamelessly with bare-faced impunity and reckless abandon having been cornered and exposed!’’ said Mr Debo Adeniran, Executive Chairman of CACOL said in reaction to the pro-corruption bill.
“We all have been witnesses to all the ploys Saraki and his cohorts have deployed thus far to frustrate the many charges of corruption against the Senate President and his wife. We have seen so-called Distinguished Senators accompany their ‘comrade-in-arms’ whenever he appears at the CCT; hiring arguably the largest delegation of Senior Advocates Of Nigeria, SAN, to represent him in the history of the Nigerian Judicial process. Saraki have been running helter-skelter – from the High Court, to the Appeal and to the Supreme Court – to achieve the manoeuvring of the judicial processes of his prosecutions over several corruption charges.”
Adeniran called on Nigerians to come together and stand against the bill, which he also described as a “diabolic pro-corruption bill.”
He urged Nigerians “not to allow the abnormal to become the normal”, and further added “We must reject the toga of disgrace being imposed on us collectively as a people by the incurably, profoundly and shamelessly corrupt elements in the corridors of power. One only needs to ask, why this bill is coming up at this point, to understand the self-serving intentions and interests at the background of the shameful plot.
“We reiterate that Saraki should resign as Senate President and Chairman of the National Assembly based on moral and ethical grounds for the several hitherto corruption allegations against him and the recent ‘blockbuster’ – the Panama Papers. He is only hanging on a string like someone ‘hiding behind a finger’’, he fails to realise that ‘there is no fist big enough to hide the sky”, Adeniran concluded.