Amendment of CCB Act, ACJA 2015 Legislative Rascality, Says TMG

SenateThe Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), yesterday, cautioned the embattled Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and other senators, who are bent on amending the Code of Conduct Tribunal and Bureau Act as well as the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015, to desist from the action, describing it as the desecration of the Senate.
The Senate in a very rare move last week, gave accelerated action to these bills such that they scaled second reading within 48 hours after they were first read on the floor of the Upper Legislative Chamber.
The suspicions surrounding the timing for the amendments of these Acts gained traction considering the fact that the amendment Bills were sponsored by two senators sympathetic to the course of Mr. Saraki – Peter Nwaoboshi (PDP-Delta State) and Isah Misau (APC-Bauchi State).
While Nwaoboshi sponsored the Bill to amend the CCB and CCT Act, Misau sponsored the one for the ACJA 2015.
However, TMG, a coalition of over 400 civic organizations working for democracy and good governance, said the amendment is not in the best interest of Nigerians as it is meant to pave way for Saraki to escape trial.
Saraki is standing trial for false and anticipatory declaration of assets, this, a section of Nigerians believed, informed the amendment of the CCB Act.
The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, had while justifying the amendments, said it had nothing to do with Saraki’s trial as it would only become effective in 2016 while the Senate president’s trial commenced since last year.
Reacting to this, The Chairman of TMG, Com. Ibrahim Zikirullahi, in a statement in Abuja, said “the mad rush to amend these two important pieces of legislation to protect the Senate President from the long arm of the law, amounts to a serious case of abuse of legislative powers.
“This latest manifestation of legislative rascality goes to show the level of desperation and the despicable extent to which these so called legislators are willing to descend in the discredited venture of helping their tainted leader escape justice.
“While it is true that the legislature is empowered by the 1999 Constitution as amended to make laws for the good governance of the nation, it is immoral and unacceptable to deploy legislative powers to further personal ends. As far as we are concerned, Saraki’s trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) is his personal business.
“It is therefore a vexatious affront on the sensibilities of the Nigerian people that the weight of the entire legislature would be brought to bear in this disturbing attempt at given him political rehabilitation.
“TMG frowns at this gangster approach to legislative business. While we commend the symbolic gesture of those legislators who have tried to distance themselves from this show of shame, we call on all members of the National Assembly, who still have any iota of credibility and good conscience to step up the pressure by teaming up with all pro-people forces, to end this charade.
“In the face of this desecration of the legislature as an institution by Saraki and his co-travellers, we call on the Nigerian people not to remain ambivalent. This is the time for the long suffering people of Nigeria to raise their voices. They must condemn the continuous criminalisation of key institutions of the State by a set of conspirators.
“TMG calls on Nigerian students, market women, artisans, employed and unemployed youth to use this opportunity to send a clear message to Saraki and his minions that corruption and the personalisation of State institutions for the benefit of a morally deficient few, is no longer acceptable. This is a challenge and test case, to prove if the Nigerian people want the plunder of state resources, and the conversion of hallowed institutions for cover ups, to continue or not.
“The only way to prove that the people reject corruption, is to use all legal means, including protests, to stop Saraki and his band of legislative rascals. For us, we know that the latest antic of Saraki and his co-travellers is to distract the well-meaning Nigerians from the initial position that he should immediately step down and stop dragging the Senate in the mud.
“Despite his attempt to be clever by half, TMG alongside all other pro-democracy and anti-corruption activists hereby restate our position that he must step down or face the wrath of the people. The battle line has been drawn, and the people must brace up for the next phase of this struggle against entrenched forces of corruption in the legislature. Darkness will never triumph over light”.