Interview with Honourable Abubakar Yunusa Ahmad
IMBIBE THE SPIRIT OF CONTINUITY TO BRING ABOUT MEANINGFUL DEVELOPMENT
Nassnews: Officially, can we meet you sir?
My names are Honourable Abubakar Yunusa Ahmad representing Yalmatu/Deba Federal Constituency from Gombe State.
Nassnews: You Sponsored the most important and relevant bills within two weeks, what motivated you to sponsor this bills?
Most of this bills that were sponsored, I came about them as a result of my passion and one of my fundamental reasons of being here as a lawmaker.
We were elected and we took oath of office, the act establishing the National Assembly gave us the mandate to serve, I mean our fundamental work here is to provide and propagate laws for the good governance of the country, when you arrived you can see here the LFN, the laws of the Federation, it is up to Fourteen (14) volumes.
It is our job to look and study the laws critically vis-à-vis mentioning them with its modalities or present realities.
Some of the laws could be absolute, they are good but have some lacunas, some lacks the teeth to bite and serve the purpose of the law.
Most of them, when there is a breach, when you break the law, there are some penalties, how will the penalty come, some of the penalties are without conviction but mostly the law should have provided that upon conviction and that conviction has to be by a court of competent jurisdiction.
You can be convicted by a court that lacks jurisdiction to entertain that offence so the penalty becomes null and void, also to study these laws after getting the lacunas you propose amendment, if they are too obsolete you call for re-enactment and you discover a situation whereby there could be establishment act or bill for an existing agency without the law.
- READ ALSO: Alleged: National Assembly Padded Over 500 Ghost Projects In 2019 Budget For NDDC – Pondei
- READ ALSO: Changing Service Chiefs Won’t Solve Insecurity
- READ ALSO: Nigerian Maritime Industry:Ramoni Seeks Committee Investigation On Local Content, Petroleum…
So, considering this background, I now venture into studying the law because if you don’t study you wouldn’t know the ills of the law, so when you get their defect then you can now prescribe the cure, I peruse some of the laws, and discover some of the laws have been in existence since 1960 despite the constitution is being amended, the laws are being amended, the archive are being amended, I mean the laws has not maintained due diligence, some are even in conflict with our constitution.
The 1999 constitution is the one that is being amended and we are using now, prior to the 1999 constitution, there are some other constitution that are there. So, if you don’t bring these laws to be in line with the constitution, there is going to be a conflict and only the constitution prevails.
So, in these laws the agency might have been using a toothless bull dog and some of them exists because they are from 60s to 70s, the kind of penalty that they just change a denomination for instance a bill that if you are found wanting by a court of competent jurisdiction you pay a fine of 100 pounds.
Subsequently, because we have change from pounds to naira from 1973, you will just change that pound and replace it with Naira, so up till today, you discover that a very greater offence that is being committed that supposed to attract greater fine, somebody is still paying one hundred naira,
So it is not commensurate, it is not punitive enough to have served as a deterrent to prevent offenders from breaking this kind of law. Most of this amendment has to do with some infractions, what are the processes to arrange somebody to pay a fine if there are infractions.
And it’s the fine, even if you examine the mechanism put in place to get a person convicted to paying, is the mechanism well in order, if yes/if no come out by way of amendment to correct the frame work. What is the essence of that penalty, the intent it tends to achieve, is it punitive enough to have put that in place, if yes fine but if no, then you do some justice to put the right penalty for the purpose of correction? For instance, the issue of one pound that has translated none hundred naira.
In the offence like, if you look at the ICAN Act, for somebody who is not supposed to practice without being registered by ICAN, and they have a section in their law that anybody that is caught practicing without having the ICAN statutory criteria which includes passing the ICAN examination, cannot be called a chartered accountant, cannot be allowed to practice but if such person is found, he is to be arraigned before a court of competent jurisdiction upon conviction, he is to pay a fine of #500 can that amount serve as deterrent, how much do you think a graduate of accounting paid to be chartered definitely, it is more than two hundred thousand naira.
You can spend thousands of naira on litigation through the court process only to be convicted and be made to pay a fine of five hundred naira, it is not worth it. You choose to practice without going through the proper channel and then wait until when you are arranged to pay five hundred naira fine, after you have made a lot of millions from audited accounts, what happens to the account you audited, it has a multiplier band wagon negative effect because if upon conviction you are asked to pay a fine of five hundred naira only, that needs to be corrected.
If ICAN is chasing accountants around and upon conviction you will pay a fine of five hundred naira while you get registered with the sum of two hundred thousand naira or more, so the penalty should have been better than affording to go through the process of being chartered.
And if the law is not deterring people we will continue to have quack accountants in the system with quack values and quack auditing in our accounts, then we end up a crash. So most of these amendments are needed and that is why I proposed twenty-one amendments.
Most of them are institutes of stockbrokers, institutes of professional printers and some others like Army Colors because the way they are being honored is been abused.
We look into the lacuna and bring forth corrections just like the Army Colors, these bandits are using army colors and that is why along Abuja/Kaduna express roads the government deem it fit to declare no more road block.
Bandits wear the uniform, mount a road block innocently you will think they are genuine when you stop for them to do their security check they pounce on you, now when you see any road block you know that it is illegal and if you have a machine gun you open fire on them too.
You can now detect fake lieutenants and fake police officers, if you take them to court and you don’t have a proper law in the constitution to convict them, is it a criminal act or not, this are some of the obsolete acts of the law reform commission that has made us dive into their archive and propose amendment.
That is the reason why we lawmakers are there, 360 representatives and 109 Senators are to look into these laws together because if my own eyes are blind to one or I am too tired to look into a page, with the other lawmakers a thousand pages might be achieved. Most of this bills are inherent to correct the defects in our laws.
Nassnews: One of the bills is National Honours amendment bill, can you throw more light into it.
National Honours amendment bill has to do more on the process of selection of those whom honour is conferred upon. It has been gazetted, presented for first reading and it has pass the first reading for members to go and study the act and come back to debate it for second reading, I might not scale through on second reading so I don’t want to blow it out.
At this stage I cannot more than highlight the points, like this policy making and penalties, these are institutes that has to do more on punishment even it has to be with punitive to be taken against offenders. National honours too has to do more of penalty, it is to fine people impersonating others and then finding their ways to be honoured.
So it has to do with really purifying the processes so that when somebody will emerge to be honoured he/she really merits it. The bills have been taken generally and they are in the first reading, let’s look at zebra crossing, the penalty is just 50 naira even if somebody loses his life in the process.
Look at the motor vehicle laws, Veterinary doctors, we have quack people who can operate on your dogs or other animals and end up killing it, so there is a lot of amendment in their act so that anybody that come out as a surgeon comes out clean. Like Civil Aviation, fire and security measures has a lacuna, civil aviation authority can’t provide a thing and it happens who will be responsible for it.
This is just the highlight, I don’t want to go into the nitty gritty until second reading and it scales through to the next level for legislative action, then we can talk more about it, it is my own imagination now until when it passed the second reading when my colleagues view it the same with me and I would have done my own home work. Iron and gold mining act, freedom of information act, Oath of secrecy act.
Nassnews: What is your agenda for your people in 2021
Number one is to serve them well and to represent them. They should have adequate representation because before I was elected into this office, we have other representatives from 1999, we have two other gentlemen that represented my people.
But in my first tenure my people have seen the difference, we have drawn government presence to the constituency through the zonal intervention funds/projects, the local government were more impoverished, they did not have money to do culverts, roads, the markets, even to create a conducive environment for farming, animal husbandry and water projects. You use your zonal intervention project to fulfill the jobs that is meant for local government and state government that they cannot do.
You augment and complement in another language. Statutorily, you can augment on employment by lobbying the agencies for your people, and then out of the little allowances we help the vulnerable among our people and that one area where some of my colleagues failed. I remain a shining light to my constituents.
Nassnews: Sir, what can we say is your motivation
Politics is the fastest route you can take to bring development to your people and contribute your own quota in nation building and I believe that we have been under represented. Like all this bills now, the more I come across defects, the more I challenge the process to see that at the end of every quarter I have contributed to nation building.
Nassnews: What can you say about insecurity in Nigeria
Number one the government of the day are trying their best but you cannot look something in the face without knowing the source/origin, we have to stop playing politics with governance.
The major duty of government is to provide security and social welfare for the people. And good governance and social security is the most important in the life of the people, we should stop playing politics with governance, for example, the same party can produce different people Mr. A and Mr. B. you don’t need to pull yourself down because of politics, the people suffer it. And the winner should also try work to improve on what the predecessor has started not to pull out of it.
Now, this is APC, when Buhari finish his tenure whether another APC or an entire new party emerge, don’t abandon what Buhari has started but imbibe the spirit of continuity on the good works, it will create employment but when you bring in a new policy people might lose their job and become idle and they say an idle mind is the devil’s work shop.
Then on the other hand there are some people that are ignorant of nation building, they think banditry, thieving and other vices are the way to go. The law is the only way to curb it and strengthening the tradition is another way. The syndrome of get rich quick, there are some people that rob with pen. They use their office to steal money and someone looking at them might think armed robbery and banditry is the way to go.
Nassnews: What is your own solution to unemployment in Nigeria
Government can’t provide job for everyone. Take for example in Gombe/Osun state how many primary or secondary schools do we have in those days compared to now, that means more graduates.
Government can create an enabling environment to allow creativity. Look at the Media, social media is part of print media. People should be creative.
A lot of people graduated as an accountant and are sales representatives everywhere. Government is not the only employer of labor but should create enabling environment for graduates to work. So that you allow the marketing, the sales, the productions and others.