Lawmaker sponsoring amnesty bill for looters deserves suspension —Sagay

Prof. Itse Sagay

The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), has described as disgraceful and illegal a bill in the House of Representatives which seeks to grant amnesty to self-confessed looters.

In a statement on Wednesday, Sagay berated the sponsor of the bill, Mr. Linus Okorie, for having the effrontery to present the bill at the lower chamber of the National Assembly.

The senior advocate said Okorie deserved to be punished or suspended for promoting corruption through the bill.

“Now what shall we do with Linus Okorie?  I propose that the House of Representatives should regard Linus’s bill to be so impertinent and scandalous as to earn him a suspension from the House, for the rest of the 8th session, i.e., until July 2019.  That should serve notice that Nigeria will no longer tolerate such brazen impunity and corruption or its promotion thereof.”

Sagay added that Okorie was promoting corruption through the bill.

He argued that the bill, if passed into law, would spell doom for the anti-graft war which is the cornerstone of the current administration.

He added, “That a Nigerian legislator (a lawmaker) can have the effrontery to promote a bill which if enacted into law, will enable looters of our treasury and national patrimony to keep the loot, if only they can acknowledge it as looted, provided they undertake to spend it in Nigeria, is breathtaking.

“In summary, what Mr. Okorie is encouraging is free plundering of state funds without consequences.  Simply put, it is the legitimating of treasury plundering.  It is clear that if such a bill becomes law, the anti-corruption war is doomed.

“How do we punish this man for his total lack of morality, and his heedless, headlong promotion of looting without adverse consequences? I think people who come up with such shocking assaults on our common morality and sense of decency deserve a sharp rebuke coupled with sanctions.”

Sagay said even though the 8th Assembly had been accused of frustrating the anti-corruption war, Okorie’s bill would be the nadir of legislative rascality.

He said if the bill was passed into law,  armed robbers, kidnapers, extortionists, thieves, money launderers, embezzlers and other criminals would line up before the Attorney-General with applications compelling him to grant them amnesty and never ever again to question its source.

Sagay, who is a former Dean, Faculty of Law at the University of Benin, said the bill was at variance with Section 15(5) of the Nigerian Constitution which provides that “The state shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power.”

“Should a legislator, a ranking public officer, be seen committing a breach of the constitution, which at the same time constitutes assault on our sensibilities with relish?” he asked.Punch

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