Reps Plot To Stop Public Officers’ Wives From Declaring Assets

THE House of Representatives Tuesday passed for a second reading, a bill seeking to amend the Code of Conduct and Tribunal Act to remove spouses of public officers from the list of persons required to declare their assets.

Sponsor of the bill, Olawale Raji, while leading the debate stated that the bill seeks to amend Sections 15(1c) and 23(7) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act.

This, he said, is to ensure proper accountability of assets and liabilities of the officer, his/her spouse as well as unmarried children under the age of 21. 

Rep Raji stated that the provisions will promote accountability and protect public officers from embarrassing situations that may arise from negligence. 

He called for the total expulsion of Section 23(7) as it contravenes the Nigerian constitution.

Rep Kingsley Chinda while agreeing with the intent of the bill, however, called for caution in the consideration as regards to the issue of removing spouses from the provisions, saying that experiences have shown that even children are used sometimes as conduits of stolen wealth by public officers. 

He stated that the amendment should reflect the age limit from 21 to 18 since that’s the officially recognised age for adulthood in Nigeria.

The Speaker of the House, Abbas Tajudeen stated that the bill may not be perfect, but added that the public hearing will avail the opportunity for stakeholders to provide more critical inputs.  

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