The Senate yesterday commenced the process of amending the Code of Conduct Act, amid the controversy trailing the ongoing trial of Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
The proposed legislation, entitled: “Code of Conduct Act CAP C15 LFN 2004 (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (SB 248)”, scaled the crucial first reading seamlessly in the upper chamber yesterday.
Another Bill that scaled first reading is the “Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 (Amendment) Bill 2016 (SB249).
Senator Isah Hamma Misau (Bauchi Central) sponsored the amendment bill.
Informed sources said a group of senators under the aegis of Like Minds Senators, met on Monday in the Maitama house of the Senate President, where the idea to float the bills featured.
The meeting, which was said to have started around 9pm, according to sources, attracted a large number of Saraki’s loyalists to “strategise on how to handle the fallouts from the 2016 budget and other issues affecting the Senate leadership”.
A senator from Kogi State, who acted as the convener of the meeting, was said to have circulated notice for the parley.
There were indications yesterday that the Code of Conduct Act amendment Bill might receive accelerated treatment in the upper chamber.
Sponsor of the Bill, Senator Peter Nwaboshi (Delta North) and arch supporter of the Senate President, told reporters that the bill aims to save Nigerians from desperate and overzealous politicians.
Nwaboshi described the bill as “a patriotic” piece of legislation that should be quickly passed to make the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) independent.
On the timing of the proposed amendment, the Delta North lawmaker said that he was prompted to initiate the bill after reading the judgment of the Supreme Court on the trial of Saraki.
He added that timing or no timing, his duty is to Nigerians and to Nigerians alone.
Explaining what he meant that the objective of the bill is to save Nigerians from overzealous and desperate politicians, Nwaboshi said: “The CCB and the CCT are under the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation. It is clear to every Nigerian that the SGF is a politician. He can use the organs as a weapon against his opponents.
“Since the Supreme Court has ruled that the CCT is a court, the CCB and CCT should not report to a politician. It should be made an independent body that should be seen to be neutral and independent of any politician.
“The original framers of the CCB and CCT Act did not intend to create and institution that should be used as a weapon by an individual.” The Nation