Indications emerged yesterday that the House of Representatives may reconsider the Code of Conduct Amendment Bill 2016 recently passed into law, which whittled the powers of the President on the tribunal.
The bill, passed last week by the Senate but yet to be assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari, sought among others, to transfer the powers of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and the CCT from the Executive to the National Assembly.
However, the legislative initiative did not go down well with the House Leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, who said there was need to look at it again in the interest of Nigerians.
Making a copious reference to constitutional provision on appointments into the board of the CCB, he said that the bill as passed by the Senate ran contrary to the provisions of the 1999 constitution as amended.
Gbajabiamila, who pushed for an immediate deliberation on the issue yesterday, further claimed that he was not aware of any of such infractions when the bill was considered on clause-by-clause basis in the lower legislative chamber recently.
But Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Obio/Akpor: Rivers) and Pwajok Edward Gyang (Jos: Plateau: PDP) said the House Leader should have raised the issue as a substantive motion.
Gyang asserted that it would be an aberration to revisit the bill, saying that it behooves the House to tarry awhile and see whether the President will assent to it or not.
Meanwhile, Speaker Dogara, who presided over the plenary session, ruled that Gbajabiamila should put the House members on notice to enable them have ample opportunity to reflect on the issue rather than laying an “ambush” for them on it.
The House had passed the amendment bill in May 2016 and sent it to the Senate for concurrence.The bill passed by the Senate allowed the President to maintain his appointment powers over the CCB.
But the appointment of the chairman and members of the bureau and the tribunal will be subject to Senate’s approval, limited to a tenure of five years, while the second term will be subject to legislative approval if the amendment is passed into law.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Samuel Anyanwu, while laying a report on the concurrence amendment bill on the floor of the chamber, had admitted a similar reworked one was introduced in the Senate earlier in the year, which generated political tension that forced the lawmakers to suspend the process.
In another development, Senate Leader, Mohammed Ali Ndume, has said the amendment of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) Act was not to favour Senate President Bukola Saraki, who is on trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) in Abuja.
Ndume, who made the clarifications yesterday while reacting to the debate on the amendment of the CCT Act during an interactive session with reporters in Maiduguri, said: “It is insulting on us to say that we are doing the bidding of Saraki because laws are not made in retrospect. If we make a law today, it cannot immediately invalidate the existing laws on the same issue.”Ndume said that the main concern of the National Assembly was to make the organisation more effective in its functions.