‘National Assembly amendment of CCB, CCT Act will fail’ – Sagay

The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Professor Itse Sagay, SAN, and the immediate past Director-General of Nigerian Law School, Professor Tahir Mamman, SAN, have flayed the National Assembly for removing the control of the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, and Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, from the executive, saying the plan will fail.

According to the two SANs, the action of NASS is informed by the ongoing travails of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, at the Tribunal.

Prof. Sagay, who was optimistic that the amendment to the CCB and CCT Act by NASS would fail, said he didn’t see President Muhammadu Buhari signing the bill.

He said: “It is an attempt to ridicule the whole Code of Conduct set up, and it will definitely fail. It needs an independent body that will neither be the legislature nor executive.

‘’It will fail because I don’t see the President signing such a bill. Of course, the President’s veto can be overridden by two-third majority.

“But at the end of the day, what they will put on paper is going to be scrutinized very carefully to see that it does not in any way contradict what is already in the constitution about the Code of Conduct.

‘’It is a constitutional matter; the provisions are in the constitution. In other words, what they want to do, unless it is clearly an improvement in the tenure of the Act, in the sense that it will be more rigorous and compelling for public officers to obey it, it will fail. If they attempt to weaken it to accommodate a lower moral standard in the public light, it will fail.’’

Prof Mamman, on his part, noted that the speed with which the bill was passed showed the Senate had a special interest in the matter.

According to him, if the amendment sails through, it will not give a good image to the law makers.

“Overall, it is perceived as an exercise by them to take away the role of the executive in the appointment of judges of the body due to the ongoing travails of the Senate President with the tribunal, no more, no less!” he stated.

Mamman explained that though it was within the powers of the National Assembly to amend any existing law in Nigeria on matters it had powers to legislate on, tinkering with existing laws for less than holy motives was ill-informed and a divisive issue to the country.

He added: “Also, in interpreting statutes, interpreters of legislations apply diverse rules to decipher the intention of the lawmakers at the time the law was made.

‘’That is, what was the mischief that the law sought to cure? However, it may not necessarily affect the efficacy of the Tribunal.

“This will essentially depend on the personality and integrity of the officials manning the Tribunal and the overall climate of the country in terms of citizens actively demanding accountability from office holders.”