John Ameh, Abuja
Owing to the controversy surrounding the planned amendment to the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act by the National Assembly, the House of Representatives moved on Tuesday to reverse it.
The Senate had last week, concluded work on a bill for an Act to amend the CCB/Tribunal Act by adopting the bill, which was first initiated in the House.
In keeping with the rules of proceedings in the House, a substantive motion to rescind the bill will be debated by the lawmakers to decide whether the reversal will succeed.
The Majority Leader of the House, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, is expected to move the motion on notice on Tuesday or Wednesday, next week.
It was Gbajabiamila, who started the move on Tuesday by soliciting members’ support to reverse the amendments.
Raising several points of order at Tuesday’s session, which was presided over by the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, the majority leader had noted that much as it was the duty of the legislature to make laws, the same legislature could reverse itself if it appeared to be progressing in an unpopular direction.
Gbajabiamila also argued that the amendments to the Act were in conflict with the relevant sections of the 1999 Constitution dealing with the membership and operations of the CCB.
For instance, Gbajabiamila said Section 15(4) of the 5th Schedule to the constitution provided that the National Assembly should give additional powers to the CCT so that it could tackle corruption effectively.
He added that the new amendments merely contradicted the constitution, as the National Assembly was now reducing the powers of the CCB/CCT.
The majority leader further said Section 15 (3) of the same schedule stated that upon the recommendation of National Judicial Council, “the President shall approve the appointment of the Chairman of the CCB, which already stated clearly the procedure.”
“An amendment to the CCB Act cannot be inconsistent with the provisions of the constitution. As we know, the constitution is the supreme law of the land.
“Any law that goes in conflict with the constitution, it is taken for granted that the constitution will naturally take its stand,” he added.
Gbajabiamila, a member of the All Progressives Congress from Lagos State, recalled that the CCB/tribunal amendment bill was included among the “40 bills,” which passed third reading one day at the House in June.