Facts emerged that amendment of Code of Conduct Tribunal / Bureau by National Assembly which comprises 459 federal lawmakers contravened the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
Investigation by our correspondent revealed that the amendment of CCT/CCB by Federal lawmakers is constitutional matter which means the 3rd scheduled and 5th scheduled of the constitution must be amended before the amendment can be legal.
According to rules guiding the amendment of constitution, Amendment must be consented to by 2/3 of all 36 State Houses of Assembly.
Although, Senator Adamu Abdullahi raised observation during the consideration of the report on amendment of CCT/CCB but was over ruled by presiding Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.
Adamu had said: “My observation is simple. At this point in time, the bill is clearly provided for by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the functions therein.
“I am not comfortable with our making any legislation that will run contrary to the provisions of the Constitution. That’s my own observation.”
The Senate comprises at least 20 lawyers and none of them was able to sensitise other senators that the matter is constitutional issue.
The 3rd scheduled of the constitution reads:
The Code of Conduct Bureau shall comprise the following members:
(a) Chairman; and
(b) Nine other members, each of whom, at the time of appointment, shall not be less than fifty years of age and subject to the provisions of section 157 of this Constitution shall vacate his office on attaining the age of seventy years.
“2.The Bureau shall establish such offices in each state of the Federation as it may require for the discharge of its functions under this Constitution.
“3. The Bureau shall have power to:
(a) receive declarations by public officers made under paragraph 12 of Part I of the Fifth Schedule to this Constitution;
(b) examine the declarations in accordance with the requirements of the Code of Conduct or any law;
(c) retain custody of such declarations and make them available for inspection by any citizen of Nigeria on such terms and conditions as the National Assembly may prescribe;
(d) ensure compliance with and, where appropriate, enforce the provisions of the Code of Conduct of any law relating thereto;
(e) receive complaints about non-compliance with or breach of the provisions of the Code of Conduct or any law in relation thereto, investigate the complaint and, where appropriate, refer such matters to the Code of Conduct Tribunal;
(f) appoint, promote, dismiss and exercise disciplinary control over the staff of the Codes of Conduct Bureau in accordance with the provisions of an Act of the National Assembly enacted in that behalf; and
(g) carry out such other functions as may be conferred upon it by the National Assembly.
The terms and conditions of service of the staff of the Code of Conduct Bureau shall be the same as those provided for public officers in the civil service of the Federation.”
The fifth scheduled reads in part:
11. (1) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, every public officer shall within three months after the coming into force of this Code of Conduct or immediately after taking office and thereafter –
(a) at the end of every four years; and
(b) at the end of his term of office, submit to the Code of Conduct Bureau a written declaration of all his properties, assets, and liabilities and those of his unmarried children under the age of eighteen years.
(2) Any statement in such declaration that is found to be false by any authority or person authorised in that behalf to verify it shall be deemed to be a breach of this Code.
(3) Any property or assets acquired by a public officer after any declaration required under this Constitution and which is not fairly attributable to income, gift, or loan approved by this Code shall be deemed to have been acquired in breach of this Code unless the contrary is proved.
12. Any allegation that a public officer has committed a breach of or has not complied with the provisions of this Code shall be made to the Code of Conduct Bureau.
13. A public officer who does any act prohibited by this Code through a nominee, trustee, or other agent shall be deemed ipso facto to have committed a breach of this Code.”
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