Senate processes bill for repatriation of stolen funds
• Cautions FCC against lopsided appointments
The Senate yesterday endorsed a bill seeking the enactment of an Act to promote cooperation with other countries to repatriate and prosecute alleged corrupt Nigerians and their accomplices staying outside the country.
The Bill which was sent to the National Assembly by the Presidency is tagged “A Bill for an Act to make provision for mutual assistance in criminal matters between Nigeria and other foreign states and for related matters, 2016.”
Leading a debate on the motion yesterday, Senate Leader, Mohammed Ali Ndume, noted that the legislation speed up the prosecution of Nigerians and their accomplices fleeing abroad with loots from the country and would also strengthen President Muhammadu Buhari’s war on corruption.
It was given an accelerated consideration and referred to the Senate Committees on Judiciary, Foreign Affairs and Anti-corruption for further legislative consideration.
The committees are expected to come up with a report on the Bill after a public hearing in two weeks.
Deputy Leader of the Senate, Bala Ibn Na’Allah, urged the lawmakers to support the passage of the Bill so as to hasten the battle against graft, even across borders.
Na’Allah said: “Let’s agree to fight-trans-border crimes. This Bill, apart from meeting the international requirements to fight crime and the war on corruption is a very serious Bill that deserves urgent attention.”
Also yesterday, Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, sought speedy amendment to the constitution to make provision for the Nigeria Sovereign Wealth Fund.
In a comment, while contributing to the consideration of the Bill for an Act to Amend the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Act 2011, with a view to aligning it with the 1999 constitution, Ekweremadu lamented that section 162 (3) of the constitution has posed a serious threat to the existence of the Sovereign Wealth fund.
Also yesterday, the Senate Committee on Federal Character warned the Federal Character Commission (FCC) against lopsidedness in appointments into the Federal Civil Service.
The Chairman of committee, Senator Tijjani Yahaya Kaura, who gave the warning at an interactive session with the Acting Chairman of the FCC, Dr. Shettima Bukar Abba and commissioners of the commission vowed that the Senate through his panel, would enforce a strict observance of the federal character principle in appointments, to make sure there is no bias and breach of the 1999 Constitution in the number of appointments.