New Telegraph

NASS frustrating anti-graft war –Sagay

Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Prof Itse Sagay (SAN) has berated the National Assembly for not “encouraging” the fight against corruption.

 

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria also said the legislators are not supporting the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and others to stop money laundering andothercrimes. “The National Assembly has not encouraged us at all. In other words, their activities and their attitude have not been encouraging at all to the anti-corruption war, for so many reasons,” he said.

 

In a telephone interview with New Telegraph, the professor of law lamented the non-passage of a bill to establish special courts for expeditious trial of corruption cases and other related offences. As part of the measures to address the issue, he proposed the adoption of a unicameral legislature as opposed to the current practice of bicameralism.

 

His words: “What I have, and this is not on a party basis but it looks like a DNA, which is implanted in the average Nigerian body, it is self-seeking. “You go there, you look after yourself. And at times, you do it outrageously.

 

Not  seem to be sensitive to the injury you are doing to the public, and to the country you are serving. This is a common thing with all the National Assemblies we’ve had – from number one to number nine.

 

There is no difference. “When it comes to self, not just indulgence, selfpromotion and acquisition of things, which ought to be used in serving the nation, there is no party; no APC, no PDP, no Nigerian youth.

 

“Everybody is united. You can see that since the beginning of the Fourth Republic, only (Senator Shehu) Sani came out once to declare what they (legislators) are earning; which they were hiding. “It was Sani, who confirmed what I have always stated, although his figure was lower than mine.” He said his earlier claim that “they are earning N15 million monthly.

 

That is the basis for the Senate. “So, when you look at the national (minimum) wage, which is N30, 000 a month, and you are giving yourselves N15 million a month, that shows extreme insensitivity, lack of care; just couldn’t be bothered. “So, this is the thing, and legislation has not been passed.

 

“The Special Anti- Corruption Court was to exclusively handle corruption cases, and some other related things like drugs, terrorism and so on. But anti-corruption was to be the main (focus).”

 

On the two-chamber practice, he said: “We should reduce it (law making) to the unicameral legislature. Just one Assembly; because we want to save money!

 

What the Senate does for us is that it tries to equalise the losses that small states suffer by basing the House of Representatives purely on a population basis. “We can do that in a unicameral legislature by simply making extra provisions for membership for those states.

 

That’s all. “So, that will save time. You don’t finish in one house, then go to the next house; all this go-between. That will end. We just have one legislature “Then, the critical thing is that it is no longer a fulltime occupation. It will be part-time as it was in the First Republic.

 

“They go at different intervals, pass their decisions, and go back. Those who are farmers will go and farm. Lecturers will go and teach. Lawyers will go to court and do their work. Teachers will go back to the classrooms and teach.”

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