December 10, 2022
Worried by the Incarceration of the senator representing Akwa Ibom northeast in the National Assembly and chairman Senate committee on oil and gas upstream Senator Bassey Albert Akpan over bribery corruption and money laundering, the Senate President Senator Ahmed Lawan and other Senators have concluded plans to rescue their embattled colleague.
The embattled senator who was convicted penultimate week by the federal high court Uyo over a matter brought by EFCC is currently cooling off in ikot Ekpene prison awaiting appeal.
However dazed by the conviction of Senator Bassey Albert Akpan, the second Senator to be imprisoned in the life of the current Senate, our Correspondent gathered that the Senate President have approached the chief of staff to the president and the attorney general of the federal to intervene and secure administrative bail for OBA.
A reliable source who pleaded annoynimity from the camp of the Incacerated senator said the Senate leadership are also reaching to the presidency while mounting pressure on EFCC to back out from following up on appeal of the prosecution of the senator.
The embattled senator who is the governorship candidate of Young Progressive Party had been in the radar of the anti corruption agency since 2015 over accepting bribe and other inducement to award a whooping #3billion contract to his friend Mr Jide Omokaro while serving as Commissioner for finance in the state.
The legal battle which ranged for years came to the climax on December 1st 2022 when he was sentenced for 42 years in prison.
Disturbed by the increasing Incarceration of it’s members and other political exposed persons, Senate on Wednesday, December 7, 2022 began moves to amend the Administration of Criminal Justice Act to allow Persons convicted by the lower court to be presumed innocent until conclusion of appeal
The bill sponsored by senator Chukwuka Utazi(PDP Enugu North) seeks to avert possible sufferings the convicted persons would have undergone between the period the persons were sentenced by a lower court and when set free by the appellant Court
Senator Utazi says, Bail is a fundamental principle of criminal justice system in every civilized society adding that a situation where a person is convicted, sentenced and committed to prison custody and serves out his term and eventually acquitted by the higher court will amount to bridging the rights of the citizen
The amendment is coming at a time when two serving Senators have been convicted at the lower court for corruption charges, Senator Bassey Akpan (YPP Akwaibom North East) and Senator Peter Nwabochi (APC Delta North) despite appealing the Judgement of lower court on their cases.
In his contribution, Senator Gershom Bassey says, the amendment is inline with adhering to the fundamental human rights of every citizen to be presumed innocent until proven otherwise, adding that innocent Nigerians should not be incarcerated until proven by a higher court
Also speaking on the Amendment, the Deputy President of the senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege said, it’s an amendment long awaited that will re-write wrongs in the society.
The Amendment Bill thereafter passed second reading and referred to the senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to report back within four weeks