Following incessant calls by opposition parties, anti-corruption organizations and some members of the House of Representatives for the stripping of ex-convicts off national honours, the federal government may have started measures to ensure the affected persons are stripped of National Honour bestowed on them prior to their conviction.
To this end, the House of Reps passed a resolution asking Jonathan to strip the national honours given to former bank MDs who had been tried or convicted for their roles in the collapse of their banks in 2009 during a plenary session on July 19.
The lawmakers, in a report by the House Committee on Capital Markets Collapse, directed that former bank executives and other public office holders found guilty of ‘crimes and unethical practices’ be stripped of the honours. The report was endorsed by the House.
“That all former bank executives who are recipients of national honours and who are currently being prosecuted for crimes and unethical practices which led to the collapse of their banks be stripped of their national honours by the President and Commander-in-Chief in line with Section 7 of the National Honours Act, LFN and international norms,” the report reads in part.
“The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission/Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission and the courts should hasten their prosecution to serve as a deterrent and to help restore investors’ confidence in the (capital) market.”
Others listed for stripping for the awards include former Chairman of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Bode George and former Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun.
Bode George was convicted by a Lagos High Court in 2009 for improprieties committed while in charge of the NPA while Tafa Balogun was found guilty of money laundering charges in 2005 by Justice Binta Murtala-Nyako.
National Publicity Secretary of the CPC, Rotimi Fashakin, noted that if the Constitution could forbid ex-convicts from holding elective office, then it must be deductible that such people should also lose the privileges that previous national honours conferred on them.
He said, “In some of the cases, like that of Mr.Tafa Balogun; and a chieftain of the PDP, Chief Bode George, they were just not what could be treated as a ‘family affair’.
“Under normal circumstances, if the constitution forbids a criminal ex-convict from holding elective office, it is deductible that the individual should also lose the privileges that a previous national honour confers.”
On his part, Action Congress of Nigeria’s (ACN) National Chairman, Bisi Akande,said: “If they are honourable themselves, they should have dropped the awards once they are convicted but such a courageous action is far from Nigeria.
“The President should do what is right. In civilised countries, honour cannot be given to thieves.”
Akande spoke through his media aide, Mr Lani Baderinwa.