Lagos – A human rights group, the Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP), on Tuesday criticised moves by the Senate to amend the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.
In a statement signed by Mr Chino Obiagwu, the National Coordinator of LEDAP and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the group said moves to amend the bill was “contrary to paragraph 1 of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers. ”
According to the statement, the purpose of the amendment is to exclude the Code of Conduct Tribunal from the application of the Act.
“It is clearly a move by the leadership of the Senate to frustrate at all cost the trial of the Senate President, Olusola Saraki, at the tribunal.”
NAN reports that the bill to amend the Act was sponsored by Sen. Isah Misau of Bauchi Central and had on April 14, passed through second reading in the Senate.
The bill seeks to revise Section 2(2) of the Act by substituting the subsection with “The provisions of this Act shall not apply to a Court Martial and such other Courts or Tribunal not being courts created and listed under section 6 (5) of the Constitutionof the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.”
The current provision of Section 2 (2) states that “without prejudice to Section 86 of this Act, the provisions of this Act shall apply to criminal trials for offences established by an Act of the National Assembly and other offences punishable in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
“The provisions of this Act shall not apply to a Court Martial.”
LEDAP said:”By removing the application of the ACJ Act from courts other than the Federal and State High Courts, Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court which are the only courts with criminal jurisdiction listed under section 6 (5) of the Constitution, the proposed amendment will narrow the application of the laudable legislation, and restrict its application in many courts and tribunals.”
The group called on the Senate to withdraw the bill to amend the ACJ Act and the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, and allow justice to take its course at Saraki’s trial at the tribunal. (NAN)