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‘Senate Becoming Safe Haven For Corrupt Ex- Govs’

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A Civil society group has raised the alarm that the senate is becoming a safe haven for former governors with corruption allegations hanging on their necks.

The Global center for conscious living against corruption in a press briefing in Abuja yesterday stated that with this new practice,the integrity of the senate is at stake.

The  director general of the centre Dr. Nwambu Gabriel,who delivered the speech, called on political parties to  prevent many corrupt former governors or politicians, especially those still standing trial over alleged corruption in a court of competent jurisdiction, from seeking refuge in the cocoon of the Legislative chambers.

He  said “ A school of thought believes that the National Assembly and indeed  the Senate is deteriorating to a safe haven for alleged corrupt former state governors who maneuver the electoral processes to get themselves into the red chamber as the highest legislative body in Nigeria.

“The Red chamber has been confronted with lots of integrity questions consequent to the activities of these hand-full of alleged corrupt Nigerians.

“Analysts across all walks of life have raised alarm that it might take longer times to erase this widespread, but negative perception about these ugly embedded political transfusion, especially in the Nigerian Senate.

The  Centre  noted in the last count that about 15 ex- governors are reported to have topped the list of 109 senators in the 9th senate who has plundered the treasury of their various states and are currently standing trial bordered on corruption.

According to them” It becomes pertinent therefore that electorates need to demand the removal of alleged corrupt persons from participating in our electoral process.

“If the people in their Constituencies refuse to understand that they have elected ‘thieves’, then it is left to the media and human right activists to continue to hold them accountable.

“The Senate should not be a retirement home for looters. Although, former governors standing trial on corruption charges are presumed innocent until proved guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction, some people still argued that it is morally wrong to field such persons to run for any public office.

For instance , he pointed out that some Nigerians still think that it was morally wrong for the APC to have presented former governor of Abia State, Oji Kalu to stand for the just concluded National Assembly election despite his pending trial over alleged N7.6 billion fraud leveled against him by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) .

According to him,It was even more spurious to have suspend the trial of the former governor before the election to give him a strong footing without any reason.

He averred that Senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria should be men and women of impeccable character who have excelled in life.

“ This can only happen when far reaching steps have been taken by successive governments in power to sanitize the polity, including hallowed chamber.

“Though such measures are yet to change the negative perception of most Nigerians about the senate, but the good news today, is that no party in power will want again to field any candidates with criminal charges pending before them in our court system.

“  As a beginning, Nigerians should see it and demand that it is morally wrong for anybody having corruption charges leveled against him by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) or any other anti-graft agencies to even seek an electoral position, not to talk of coming as far as to the Senate.

“Interestingly the ruling APC is said to have told its Senators elect jostling for any principal office position to first  check themselves.

“The party warned that it will not back any senator with blemish to aspire or become a principal officer of the senate. This step is quiet commendable and should be encouraged to save the senate’s waning image problem.

“Until that is done, some Nigerians still continue to see the senate as a safe haven or retirement home for corrupt ex-governor and politicians who still have pending  corruption charge leveled against them by EFCC.  About 15 ex governors are in the 9th senate, and some of them still have corruption case against them in court,” he said .

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