By Victor Ahiuma-Young
LAGOS — ORGANIZED Labour, weekend, faulted moves by the Senate to amend the Act establishing the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, and the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, warning that it was not only dangerous to the fight against corruption, but also self-serving.
This came as the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, petitioned Professor Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, asking him to use his good offices and position to urgently request the Senate to withdraw amendments to the Code of Conduct Bureau and Code of Conduct Tribunal Act.
According to the group, the amendment, if passed into law, would seriously weaken the Act, undermine the fight against corruption in the country, and exacerbate extreme poverty and violations of internationally recognized human rights.
The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, contended that it was intriguing that it took the trial of the Senate President for the Senate to discover that there were flaws in the law setting up the CCB and CCT.
NLC in a statement by Ayuba Wabba said: “In the past one week, the Senate initiated a process for the amendment of the Act establishing the Code of Conduct Bureau and the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT.
“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.
“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.”
SERAP drags Senate to UN
Meanwhile, in the petition dated April 15 and signed by SERAP Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, the organisation expressed concern that the Senate of Nigeria would any moment from now pass amendments to Public Officers Protection Act; Administration of Criminal Justice Act; Code of Conduct Bureau Act and the Code of Conduct Tribunal Act with the political objective of securing a soft-landing for the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who is facing corruption charges.
The petition, copied to Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Conference of States Parties to the UN Convention against Corruption, read in part: “SERAP considers these amendments to be in bad faith, patently an abuse of legislative powers, politically biased, and demonstrably unjustified in a democratic and representative society governed by the rule of law, and incompatible with the country’s international human rights obligations.
“SERAP also considers the amendments to amount to “legislative rascality” as they are not legitimate exercise of legislative power, and if allowed can exacerbate extreme poverty and violations of the right to an adequate standard of living of Nigerians and other human rights.
“The amendments also threaten the injunction that government must be accountable, responsive and open; that public institutions must not only be held to account but must also be governed by high standards of ethics, efficiency and must use public resources in an effective manner.