Ladies and gentlemen of the press, we would like to welcome you to this press conference and to address you on an important issue that has to do with public expenditure management.
The Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) received with shock the decision of the Bauchi State House of Assembly to repeal a law that provides for the investigation of public officers who might have misappropriated state funds entrusted in their hands. The House in its meeting on Wednesday 15th May, 2017 passed three bills, among which is “Bill for a Law to Repeal Bauchi State Public Property and Funds Recovery Tribunal Law 2017” repealing an earlier law that provides the investigation and prosecution of those suspected to have looted public funds in the state.
In an unprecedented fashion, the three bills were introduced that day and were subjected to first, second and third readings the same day after which they were passed. Of concern to us is the bill that cancels another Law enacted by the State House of Assembly in 2017 which made provision for State Public Property and Recovery Tribunal of 2017.
By this new bill passed by the state house of assembly, if allowed to be assented in the state, it will cancel the initial Law that provides ground for the investigation and prosecution of anybody that is found wanting in misappropriating the state funds. We suspect that their rationale for such unpatriotic bill is a ploy for people who might have looted the state funds in the outgoing government to cover up and protect themselves from investigation with the hope of getting away unpunished.
It is for this reason that we strongly condemn this bill and call on the State Governor Barr. M.A Abubakar not to assent to it for the following reasons:
- That a sensitive issue that affects the lives and the economy of the people in the state should not be passed without been subjected to public hearing.
- As a person with high position in the Law Profession, the governor knows the implications of such counter bills to repeal an existing law made to safeguard the property of the state.
- That this bill is to the detriment of good citizens of the state therefore, repugnant to natural justice.
While we at Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) say no to the bill, we also call on all reasonable and responsible stakeholders in the state to equally do the same by openly condemning the bill.
Mohammed Chiroma Hassan
Programmes Officer, CITAD Bauchi