A bill, seeking cooperation with other countries to repatriate and prosecute alleged corrupt leaders and their accomplices who are staying abroad, has been passed for third reading on Wednesday by the Senate.
The Executive Bill entitled: “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,” could possibly be passed into law in Nigeria.
After a brief debate on the general principle of the Bill led by Senate Leader, Mohammed Ali Ndume, it was 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.
Ndume in his lead debate noted that the legislation will fast-track 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.
Deputy Leader of the Senate, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah, urged the Senate to support the passage of the bill so as to hasten the battle against graft even across borders.
In his statement 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.
Senator Chukwuemeka Utazi (Enugu North) supported the bill and urged the Senate to approve its passage into law without hesitation.
Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, also agreed that the bill is key to the fight against corruption. He referred it to the Committees of Judiciary, Foreign Affairs and Anti-corruption to hold a public hearing on it and report back to the Senate in two weeks.
The Senate also received reports of its Committees on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) and Special Duties on fuel scarcity.
The report was presented by Senator Jibrin Barau (Kano North-APC).