House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara, yesterday called for fairness in Senate President Bukola Saraki’s trial before the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

Dogara, making his welcome remarks to lawmakers who were returning from a six- week recess said Saraki’s appearance at the tribunal is “in the recognition that no person is above the law.”

He said: “The barometer of the polity has been on the rise of late because of certain developments concerning the arraignment of the President of the Senate.

[quote_center]“While commending the President of the Senate for submitting himself to the jurisdiction of the Code of Conduct Tribunal in the recognition that no person is above the law, I wish to caution that there is need for great circumspection in times such as this in order to maintain proper focus in pursuit of the common good.”[/quote_center]

The Speaker said though the House supports the Federal Government in its crusade against corruption, institutions charged with the responsibility should tread with caution.

He said: “We commend and fully support the effort of government towards sanitizing the polity through the war against corruption, impunity and other vices. As legislators with the mandate of making as well as reforming the law, we expect that these institutions, which are the creation of these laws, would prove their capacity for fairness, justice and strict adherence to the rule of law in order not to endanger our democracy.

“I am confident that our justice system has the capacity to do justice to all citizens. In any case, the legislature remains the bulwark in defense of our democracy, fundamental human rights and Rule of Law.”

Dogara also praised the Federal Government on the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy and expressed the hope that it would stem leakages in the country’s resources

“The introduction of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy is also a commendable measure. Over the years, the problem of uncontrollable revenue leakages constituted a cause for serious concern to the legislature and public finance management in general.

[quote_box_right]“It is hoped that this new policy will substantially deal with the issue of revenue leakages and accountability. However in order to achieve strict compliance with the requirement of Section 80 of the Nigerian Constitution, it is important to restate that extra budgetary expenditure also constitutes revenue leakages.”[/quote_box_right]

“The recent submission by the Federal Ministry of Finance which revealed extra budgetary expenditure running into billions of Naira shows that Ministries, Departments and Agencies are yet to grasp the full import of revenue leakages in the contemplation of Section 80 of the Constitution”.

Dogara said lawmakers must join in the efforts against corruption, terrorism and criminality and also applauded the Nigerian Army and other security agencies on the war against terrorism.

“Our constitutional mandate of making laws for good governance has been narrowed to specifics by prevailing realities: we are confronted by endemic corruption; widespread debilitating poverty; mass unemployment; crass insecurity aggravated by terrorism manifesting in insurgency, kidnapping and vandalism; a fledgling democracy encumbered by weak institutions and above all an ailing economy. In the task to free our country from these challenges and vices there shall be no compromise.
“We must come out decisively to facilitate the war against terrorism and insurgency, the war against corruption and the war against kidnapping and vandalism. We must adopt definite legislative measures in aid of job creation, poverty alleviation, revamping our economy through diversification and growing our institutions to cultivate and stabilize our democracy.

“I wish, at this point, to most sincere commend our Armed Forces and other security agencies for the renewed zeal and determination in dealing decisively with the menace of insurgency culminating in groundbreaking successes recorded recently.”

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