Reactions Trail Buhari’s Special Crimes Court Bill

Reactions have continued to trail President Muhammadu Buhari’s call on the National Assembly to fast-track the passage of the Special Crimes Court Bill.

The President has earlier urged the judiciary on Tuesday while opening a two-day National summit on ‘‘Diminishing Corruption in the Public Service’’ organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in collaboration with the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to embrace and support the creation of the Special Crimes Court.

However, many Nigerians find it difficult to understand the difference between conventional courts and Special Crimes Court. 

President Buhari said, ‘‘The fight against corruption is of course not only for government and anti-corruption agencies alone. All arms and tiers of government must develop and implement the anti-corruption measures.

‘‘I invite the legislative and judicial arms of government to embrace and support the creation of Special Crimes Court that Nigerians have been agitating for to handle corruption cases.’’

Buhari noted that the passage of the Bill was a specific priority of the current administration’s Economic Recovery & Growth Plan 2017-2020.

He challenged the ICPC to zero in on Ministries, Department and Agencies that are not yet on the IPPIS.

 ‘‘I urge ICPC to beam its searchlight on all agencies yet to get on the IPPIS and our e-government platform in order to fully halt the padding of personnel budgets and the diversion or misappropriation of capital budgets,’’ he said.

The President also used the occasion, which marked the launch of the Constituency Projects Transparency Group (CPTG) Report Phase One, to reiterate his appeal to all well-meaning Nigerians to join in the fight against corruption.

‘‘The war against corruption cannot be won without prevention, enforcement, public education and enlightenment.

‘‘I encourage the ICPC and other law enforcement agencies to intensify their efforts in public education, enlightenment and engagement with citizens.

‘‘I also urge our development partners, civil society organizations, and the media to continue to support our efforts to strengthen ethical values and integrity in Nigeria,’’ he said.

In a related development, the sponsor of the Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations Bill, also known as the Social Media Bill, Mr Mohammed Sani Musa, has said that he believes in freedom of speech and expression.

He said this on Wednesday while explaining the idea behind the proposed bill.

According to him, the reason for proposing the bill had nothing to do with gagging the press.

“My reason for bringing this bill actually is not to gag the press, I believe in the freedom of expression or freedom of speech,” he said.

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