Senate spokesperson says different punishment had already been prescribed against corruption in the act that established ICPC and EFCC.
Contrary to the call by some groups that looters of public funds in Nigeria should be sentenced to death, the Senate has said that it’s impossible for lawmakers to initiate death penalty for treasury looters.
But the red chamber has expressed its readiness to support any executive or private member bill that would criminalise acts of corruption.
Senator Godiya Akwashiki, the spokesperson for the Senate, stated this in an interview with Punch during the week.
According to the newspaper, the senator representing Nasarawa North senatorial district said that it was impossible for the Senate President to direct any senator to produce any particular bills, including one that prescribes the death penalty for looters.
He said, “It is not possible for the Senate President to direct any senator to go and produce a particular type of bill. All of us are elected to represent our constituency from various parts of the country.”
Akwashiki added that different punishment had already been prescribed against corruption in the acts that established the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) as well as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
“We have the ICPC Act and the EFCC Act and there are punishments there for offenders. I want to believe we are going gradually. However, any bill that would criminalise looting is a good proposal that the Senate could consider,” he said.
Dismissing the insinuations that ex-governors and former ministers in the Senate would reject such bills, the senator challenged the executive arm of government, groups or individuals to bring up bills that will prescribe death penalty for treasury looters and see if the senate would not push them through.
The lawmaker said, “We started a serious fight against corruption a few years ago when President Muhammadu Buhari got into office.
“The issue of a bill against corruption and looters in the Senate is a constitutional right of every senator, the executive arm of government, groups or private individuals.
“Anybody in the country is free to propose a bill through any senator. If you have such a proposal, get in touch with your senator, sit down with him and convince him why you want that type of law to be enacted.
“This country belongs to all of us. Every person in this country has the right to present their opinion in terms of enacting an Act for the benefit of the people.
“When the Senate discovers there are many people requesting a particular bill, one day, one senator will just wake up and initiate a proposal and present it before his colleagues.”
Akwashiki also debunked the claim that former governors and former ministers in the senate were corrupt.
He said, “We have 109 senators. How many are former governors or ministers?
“Are you saying we could get 60 senators who are either former governors or ministers?
“Senate is a place where everybody is free to express their opinions, according to the wishes of the people who elected them.
“The Senate chamber is higher than any former governor or minister.”