Partners for Electoral Reform, a Civil Society Organisation (CSO), on Thursday described the Bill on amnesty for treasury looters currently before the House of Representatives as self-serving and anti-people.
Chairman of the organisation, Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu, said this in Abuja that the bill did not mean well for Nigeria.
The bill, sponsored by a member of the House of Representatives, seeks to give looters immunity to any form of probe, inquiry or prosecution after fulfilling some conditions.
Part of the conditions is to allow persons, who had acquired such money or assets illegally to voluntarily declare it and forfeit part through tax and percentage surcharge.
Such persons would also not be compelled by any authority to disclose the source of the funds.
Nwagwu said that one of the illusions that Nigerians continued to have was the fact that the National Assembly which ordinarily should be the home of reforms would bail Nigeria out of its current challenges.
“What we see is the continued toying with sunshine laws that can improve the anti-corruption environment and fights.
“Civil Society Organisations are currently mobilising to shut down that bill because it is self-serving.
“It is self-serving in the sense that truly, the biggest challenge to corruption in Nigeria is public sector corruption and the politicians are implicated in that.
“So, they will always continue to want to make laws that help protect them from that challenge.
“My take on the bill is simply that it is anti-people; it does not mean well for Nigeria and it does not portray the National Assembly in good light.’’
He said that essentially, Nigerians needed to understand that the anti-corruption struggle was not the president’s struggle alone but a struggle for all.
According to him, it is good to have a president who by force of personal example pushes the issue of corruption but it should be a people’s fight.
Nwagwu said that the masses should own the anti-graft fight and ensure that the whistleblower protection bill at the National Assembly did not go the way of other bills.
He urged Nigerians not to allow the bill to be stalled because it was “everybody’s bill’’ so everybody could be a whistleblower and fight corruption.
“We must ensure that that bill comes to light in its true content, not watered down and ineffective,’’ he said.
Nwagwu advised the people to continue to give support to the anti-corruption agencies, especially the EFCC and ICPC, to make sure that corrupt people did not have a field day in Nigeria.