Senate okays Agency for National Ethics and Values


The Senate yesterday passed for third reading, the bill seeking for establishment of Agency for National Ethics and Values, following consideration of report of its Committee on Information and National Orientation to that effect.
Chairman of the committee, Senator Suleiman Adokwe (PDP, Nasarawa East), while presenting the report for consideration by the upper legislative chamber said the bill sought to provide legal framework for practices in government and private places to observe certain ethical standards.
Accordong to him, if the bill becomes law, violation of ethical standards by Nigerians in their various areas of endeavour would attract serious punishment to discourage people from indulging in corruptive behaviours, which he said had been inimical to the progress of the nation.
He said: “With this bill, the breach of ethical standards will incur certain punitive measures, as that is a significant departure from the mandate of the National Orientation Agency which is mainly persuasive.
“Now, we have provided for some punishment from fine to outright imprisonment.
This is a major step in fighting corruption in this country.
If you know that certain practices will earn you fine or imprisonment as the case may be, you are more likely to be circumspect”.
On fears that President Muhammadu Buhari might not assent to the bill, Senator Adokwe noted that he was optimistic the President would sign it into law because of its relevance to his anti corruption fight.
“We believe he should assent to it because there is a committee in the Presidency that deals with matters of ethics and values.
It used to be headed by Sarah Jibril.
She tried to ensure that a legal framework was provided but it didn’t work.
“The National Orientation Agency is set out to persuade people to behave in a certain manner and to do what is right.
With this bill however, if you are persuaded and you still persist, somebody should be able to make you comply with standards and values of the country”, he explained.
He explained that some of the ethical issues captured by the bill when passed into law, bother on sexual harassment enforcement, especially in office environment because people often get away with such harassments under the pretence of way of doing things as Africans.
“The world is changing and we need to know that there are certain things that are not acceptable and if we continue with them, we should be punished”, he stressed.
The lawmaker pointed out that the bill was designed to prove to Nigerians that time had come for people to be responsible and accountable to their actions, stressing that Nigerians should know that they would not get away with certain unethical behaviours.
When put to voice vote by the senate president, Dr.
Bukola Saraki, it was unanimously supported and adopted by the lawmakers.


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