In what may be a tactical move, the Senate on Wednesday, suspended further action on the controversial amendment of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act and the Administration Act, while also resolving to stand by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
The Senators took the decision to suspend work of the amendment of the Acts after a three-hour executive session on Wednesday.
The three amendment bills had passed the second reading in the upper legislative chamber. However, the timing and the accelerated manner in which the lawmakers handled them was interpreted in several quarters as intended to whittle down the powers of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, in the discharge of its activities against corrupt officials.
Speaking on the decisions taken by Senators, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the session, said the Senate also agreed to suspend deliberations on the report of the ethics committee on the alleged activities of Senator Kabir Marafa that were not parliamentary, adding Senators also agreed unanimously to stand by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki in his on-going trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT. This, he said is in line with global convention of an accused being innocent until proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction.
The Deputy Senate President also disclosed that senators in the executive session had directed all members of the red chamber who had instituted certain court cases in courts to withdraw them forthwith in the spirit of true reconciliation, adding that the closed session agreed to set up a powerful committee, made up of two members each from the six geo – political zones to deliberate on other issues that had divided the Senate since inauguration of the eight senate and how to resolve them.
Ekweremadu said: “We have decided to suspend the discussion of the committee on Ethics report on Senator Marafa. We also agreed to suspend further deliberation on the amendment on the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act and the Administration of Criminal Justice act the amendment thereto.
“We equally agreed that this Senate should stand and we do stand by the Senate President in his trial until proven guilty by the court in accordance with our constitution and democratic practices all over the world including South Africa, Brazil and Russia.
“We also agreed to set up a committee with two members from each geo-political zone to address all the remaining issues and as part of the reconciliation, those in court should consider withdrawing the cases.
“Further to the agreement to set up the committees, the geo-political zones have sent names to their representatives. For South-South we have Senator Godswill Akpabio and senator James Manager.
“For North-West we have Senator Ahmed Sani-Yerima and Suleiman Hunkunyi; For the North-East, we have Senators Bukar Abba Ibrahim and Joshua Lidani; For for the South-East we have Senators Sam Egwu and Hope Uzodinma.
“For the North-Central, we have Senators Barnabas Gemade and Abdullahi Adamu, and for the South-West, we have Senators Monsurat Sunmonu and Gbenga Ashafa.”
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