The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Sunday described the ongoing amendment of the act establishing the Code of Conduct Bureau and the Code of Conduct Tribunal as a legislative ambush capable of scuttling the trial of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
In a statement entitled: ‘A Dangerous Amendment’ signed by its President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, the Congress said not many Nigerians believe that the amendment was not aimed at scuttling the trial.
The Congress said while the intention of the Senate may be noble and in line with their legislative function, the timing of the amendment calls to question the real intentions of the senate.
The statement which reads in part, the NLC boss said the Senate cited as reasons for the amendment, “the need to give every public officer (appearing before the tribunal) a fair hearing, justice and equity (in line with the provisions of Section 36 [a] of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the need to remove from political control, the two bodies which now play a critical role in the administration of criminal justice system.
“In furtherance of its objective, the Senate fast-tracked the process of this amendment via two readings (first and second) within 48 hours. It has also set in motion the process for removing the jurisdictional powers of CCT on criminal matters via the amendment of the Administration of the Criminal Justice Act.
“However, we at the Nigeria Labour Congress hold the view that the noble intention of the Senate notwithstanding, the timing is suspect and fraught with danger.
“It is quite intriguing that it took the trial of the Senate President for the Senate to discover these flaws in the law(s). Putting it bluntly, in spite of the spirited defences by the Deputy Senate President to the contrary, not a few believe that this legislative move is a desperate attempt to scuttle the trial of the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, at CCT.
“On our part, we do not think the privileges of the Senate President extend to exemptions from civil or criminal trials. At the moment, only the President and his Vice, the Governor and his Deputy enjoy this rare privilege. Thus, what the Senate is trying to do is no more than a legislative ambush.
“We need not remind the Senate that we are all equal or ought to be equal before the law, in spite of our stations in life. We similarly believe that the fight against corruption should be total and not selective. If this amendment therefore is allowed to scale through, it would have set a dangerous precedent.
“Accordingly, the Senate would do well to listen to one of their own, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi of APC, representing Kebbi North. Timing is of essence here.”
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