Withdraw Bill Granting Amnesty To Looters, SERAP Tells Dogara
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara to withdraw a bill granting full and complete amnesty to suspected looters without delay.
The bill, if passed, would grant full and complete amnesty to looters, and would prevent any probe, inquiry or prosecution for high-profile cases of corruption.
SERAP, in its letter, wrote:
“The House of Representatives constitutional role to ‘make laws for the peace, order and good governance of the Federation’, also suggests that the proposed amnesty bill for suspected looters is not properly within the ambit of the House’s legislative powers.”
“The amnesty bill seeks to foreclose investigations of high-profile corruption cases, and thus negates both Nigerians’ right to know the truth about what happened to their commonwealth, and their right to justice and accountability.”
“SERAP believes that amnesties or other impediments which preclude or indicate unwillingness to provide prompt and fair prosecution and punishment of perpetrators of grand corruption would violate the principle of good faith under international law. The purpose of the principle is to ensure that those who commit grand corruption are not granted immunity.”
“SERAP also believes that granting of amnesty to absolve suspected perpetrators of grand corruption from accountability or prevent the full recovery of ill-gotten wealth violates the right of victims of corruption to an effective remedy. An effective remedy entails access to justice, reparation for the harm suffered as a result of grand corruption, and access to the factual information concerning allegations of corruption.”
“If ending impunity for grand corruption is to be considered a fundamental national interest worthy of being furthered, it is crucial to have a strong legal rule to prevent and combat corruption rather pursue bills that would weaken the fight against corruption. The proposed bill would foster a culture of impunity in which grand corruption becomes the norm, rather than the exception.”
SERAP therefore urged the Speaker to take without delay all necessary measures to withdraw this unnecessary amnesty bill.
He should also promote bills that would radically reform Nigeria’s criminal justice system to prevent corruption, and ensure that suspected perpetrators regardless of their status are punished in a manner proportionate to the gravity of the corrupt acts committed.
And use his leadership position to publish all reports of investigations of corruption that have so far been undertaken by the House of Representatives since the return of democracy in 1999.
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