* To Probe Unbundling Of NNPC
Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja
Senate on Wednesday passed for Third Reading and possible passage into law a Bill, which seeks cooperation with other countries to repatriate from abroad and prosecute alleged corrupt Nigerians and their accomplices.
This is even as the Upper Legislative Chamber said that it will start the process of probing the decision of the Federal Government to unbundle the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The Executive Bill is 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.
The Bill went through a brief debate led by the Senate Majority Leader, Senator, Ali Ndume, before its referral to the Senate Committees on Judiciary, Foreign Affairs and Anti-corruption for further legislative consideration.
Consequently, 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.
The Deputy Leader, 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.
“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,” Na’Allah said.
Senator Chukwuemeka Utazi supported the Bill, and urged the Senate to approve its passage into law without hesitation.
Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, agreed that the Bill is key to the fight against corruption.
Saraki 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.
Meanwhile, the Senate will start the process of probing the decision of the Federal Government to unbundle the NNPC.
Workers of the NNPC had shut down the corporation’s operations nationwide following the exercise and the development had led to fuel queues across the country.
But the Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, directed the Chief Whip, Senator Olusola Adeyeye, to formally present a motion, which would be extensively debated at Thursday’s plenary.
Adeyeye had raised a point of order, drawing the attention of his colleagues to the unbundling of the nation’s agency in charge of the oil and gas sector in the country.
He described the exercise as illegal as the federal government did not consult the National Assembly to repeal the enabling law that set up the organisation, before breaking it into different components.