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President Goodluck Jonathan may soon lose powers to sanction errant judicial officials as the House of Representatives yesterday considered the amendment to the 1999 Constitution to allow the National Judicial Council (NJC) take charge of affairs of its members.
The bill, which scaled second reading in the House, if passed, will empower the council to remove errant high court and appeal court judges if found guilty of misconduct.
Contributing to a debate on the bill, Hon. Peter Edeh (Ebonyi), said the bill was to "amend the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, to increase the National Judicial Council power over the suspension, punishment, reinstatement and discipline of judicial officials."
Edeh, who noted that hitherto the independence of the NJC to punish members found wanting was limited because it was subject to the approval of the president, stated that this would no longer be the case with the amendment.
"The decision of the NJC should be final. The NJC needs not seek the approval of Mr. President to sanction is members. In these days of corruption, we need to empower the NJC to do more to have power to discipline judicial officers," Edeh said.
In his contribution, Hon. Ossai Ossai (Ukwani, Delta) explained that amending the relevant part of the previous Act would not be tedious, as what would be done would simply add "power to suspend and reinstate."
Another bill seeking to give tax relief to corporate organisations based on their contributions to philanthropic and corporate social responsibility initiatives also passed through the second reading.
Sponsored by Hon. Ayo Omidiran (APC, Osun), the bill is titled "A Bill for an Act to Amend Part II of the Companies Income Tax Act, 1990 to include the provision of tax relief for corporate organisations based on their contributions towards philanthropic and corporate social responsibility initiatives and related matters."
Omidiran, who led debate on the general principles of the bill, explained that it had become necessary to encourage corporate organisations to do more in their host communities and as part of their corporate social responsibility by giving them tax relief.