The Senate has passed for second reading, a bill seeking to amend the Act establishing the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and its tribunal.
The sponsor of the bill, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, said that the amendment of Section 3 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act is to allow every public officer who appears before the Bureau a fair hearing.
Nwaoboshi said that the procedural codes that were being employed by the bureau’s tribunal were not provided for in the nation’s Constitution.
“It is clear that the Act does not contemplate criminal trial, so the usage of Criminal Procedure Act and the Criminal Procedure Code should not be used as a procedural template in the Tribunal.
“In due course, I will present to this distinguished Senate a comprehensive amendment of the Third Schedule to the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Rules of procedure which should be distinct rules for proceedings in the Code of Conduct Tribunal,” he said.
Senators who contributed threw their weight behind the amendment of the Act. Senator Dino Melaye (APC Kogi West) said that the amendment was very apt as it had become clear that the CCT was delving into criminal trials.
Melaye urged all senators to support the amendment, stressing that it was justified.
Other senators who contributed included Jubrin Barau (APC Kano North), Sam Anyanwu (PDP Imo East) and the Minority whip, Biodun Olujimi.
Olujimi said, “We are licensed as senators to look at Acts and Laws to see how we can make them better: there is no doubt that this Act needs amendment.
“We do not want the Act to be used inconclusively; this is a straight forward thing, it should go to the committee and we conclude.”
However, Senator Yahaya Abdulahi (APC-Kebbi North) while supporting the amendment, expressed reservations over the timing in view of ongoing trial of the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, at the CCT.
He said that although the amendment was apt, the perception of Nigerians, especially with regard to the timing should be taken into consideration. “What I am against is the time,” he said.