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Lawyers flay move to amend CCT Act

Some lawyers have reacted to the current move to amend the Code of Conduct Tribunal Act by the senate. The lawyers who spoke with our…

Some lawyers have reacted to the current move to amend the Code of Conduct Tribunal Act by the senate.
The lawyers who spoke with our correspondent over the weekend said even if the CCT Act was amended, it cannot have retroactive effect.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, is currently facing trial over alleged false declaration of assets at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
The bill to amend the CCT Act had within 48 hours, scaled the second reading in the upper chamber.
A senior lawyer, Garba Tetengi (SAN) in his reaction said even with the amended CCT Bill, the senate president would be tried under the old CCT Act.
“Unless he would be re-arraigned under the new amendment, it is the subsisting law at the time of arraignment and not the amended CCT Bill that would operate,” he said.
According to him, the amendment will not have retroactive effect.
Popular human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), in his response urged the House of Representatives not to lend its support to the ongoing process of amendment in the senate.
In his letter dated April 15, 2016 addressed to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, Falana described the proposed amendment by the upper legislative chamber as illegal and self serving.
Falana said going by the nature of the CCT Act which is a duplication of provisions of the constitution, the amendment could not be valid without amending the constitution.
He said the ongoing process at the senate was in violation of Section 4(2) of the constitution.
He said the constitutional provision only empowers the National Assembly to make laws “for the peace, order and good government of the federation or any part thereof.”
The chairman, Nigerian Bar Association, Ikorodu branch in Lagos State, Mr Dotun Adetunji, said the amendment at this point was shameful. He said any amendment to a law based on vested interest was contrary to the rule of law and the ethics of good governance.
“This action of the senate while its president is undergoing trial at the CCT is a shameful act. It is also a slap on the generality of Nigerians that voted them into office and a breach of the trust expected of them.
“This move by the senate will not put this nation in good standing in the international community,” he said.
Mr Wale Ogunade, a lawyer and public affairs analyst, said: “The senate is required by law to amend laws. However, in the case of the amendment of the CCT Act by the senate, the question to ask is: does the senate have an honest intention or an ulterior motive? My opinion is that the moves to amend the CCT Act was designed to frustrate the trial of Saraki. It was designed to water down the Act making it worthless, useless and of no effect whatsoever.”

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