Nigeria’s House of Representatives, Thursday, passed for second reading, a bill seeking to amend Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution to bring the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, an adjudicatory body, under judicial control.
Titled, “A Bill for an Act to Amend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to Establish the Code of Conduct Tribunal as a Superior Court Created by the Constitution,” the action was sponsored by Hon. Solomon Bob (PDP, Rivers).
According to the sponsor, who led the debate on its general principles, Hon. Bob said the Bill proposes to amend principally sections 6, 84, 240, 243, 254, 294, 295, 316 of the constitution among others.
According to him, the failure to place the Code of Conduct Tribunal under the judicial arm of government runs contrary to the principle and practice of separation of powers in a presidential democracy.
Hon. Bob said, “The Code of Conduct Tribunal the focal point of this Bill is undoubtedly a judicial body created by paragraph 15 of the 5th schedule to the constitution and section 20 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act.
“It is a statutory body saddled with the responsibility of trying offences under the Code-of-Conduct Bureau Act. However, it is absurd and indeed confounding that a judicial tribunal clothed with enormous powers to sanction public officers found guilty of violating the Code of Conduct Act, including the power to order forfeiture and bar offenders from holding public office, is placed under the Executive rather than the Judiciary, an arm where it rightly belongs.
“For ease of reference, Mr. Speaker, Honourable colleagues, paragraph 18(2) of the 5th schedule which deals with the powers of the Tribunal provides in extenso: 18(2): “The punishment which the Code of Conduct Tribunal may impose shall include any of the following: Vacation of office or seat in any legislative house, as the case may be; Disqualification from membership of a legislative house and from the holding of any public office for a period not exceeding ten years; and Seizure and forfeiture to the state of any property acquired in abuse or corruption of office.”