Reps Proposes Bill Barring Presidential, Guber Aspirants With Criminal Records From Contesting

A Bill for an Act to bar aspirants who have records of conviction for crimes committed either in Nigeria or abroad, but vying for for political offices, is underway in the House of Representatives.

The motive of the bill is to stop such candidates from contesting future elections.

The bill, entitled “National Convict and Criminal Records (Registry) Bill, 2020, was sponsored by House Committee Chairman on Army, Abdulrazaq Namdas (APC-Adamawa).

The bill seeks to, in the future, frustrate the ambition of politicians with records of crime.

It states in section 15 subsection 3 that “notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any other law and subject to the provisions of this Bill, every person seeking election into any public office in Nigeria or seeking employment in the public service of the federation or any state, shall apply for a clearance certificate pursuant to the provisions of subsection (1) of this section.’’

The subsection 1 referred to above, says: “The registry shall, upon an application made to it by any person, issue or cause to be issued a clearance certificate, stating among other things, that the applicant is not a convict and is not serving, nor has served any term of imprisonment, not been indicted for a criminal offence for which he was found guilty and convicted either in Nigeria, or in any other country”.

Section 4 added: “Non-compliance with the provisions of subsection (3) of of this section shall invalidate the election or employment of any person affected by the provisions of this bill.”

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The proposed law, as well, wants the Registry to work with the Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Correctional Service and other security and law enforcement agencies to track offenders.

The piece of legislation also seeks to invest the Registry with the powers to arrest and prosecute applicants for jobs and aspirants for political offices who are found to have records of crime.

It also vests in the President the powers to appoint the Registrar of the agency, subject to the approval of the Senate.

The House resumes for legislative business tomorrow.

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