A public hearing on a bill to establish the Chartered Institute of Forensics and Certified Fraud Examiners became rowdy, on Thursday, in the House of Representatives, after a member from Abia State, Uzoma Abonts, accused his colleague, Buba Yakub, from Adamawa State, of plagiarising his bill.
The public hearing was organised by the House Joint Committees on Anti-corruption and Commerce.
At the hearing, Abonta alleged that the bill plagiarised the one he had sponsored, which the House already passed.
The bill, sponsored by Yakub, passed the first and second reading in March and April respectively.
Abonta had earlier sponsored the ‘Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Professional of Nigeria’ bill and it was passed by the House and Senate, but yet to be assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Speaking at the hearing on Thursday, Abonta, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party,said the provisions of Yakub’s bill are not different from the one he sponsored.
Abonta said: “We have rules we follow in the National Assembly. National assembly is a hallow chamber, we don’t have to cause confusion,we solve confusion.
“What is now surprising now is that this bill now being considered. I authored the other forensic bill. This bill is word for word with the bill I authored. That is plagiarism.”
At this point, Abonta was interrupted by Yakub who raised a point of order.
Benjamin Sekpe, legal adviser to the Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Professionals, while making his presentation, said the “bill is a photocopy.”
“We only got to know about this public hearing this morning, that is why we are unable to make proper presentation and submission,” he said.
“May I bring to the attention of the committee that a bill to establish the Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Professionals of Nigeria was passed into law by this same House on the 19th day of May 2021 and what is surprising is the fact that the bill under public hearing at the moment is more or less a photocopy of our bill,” Sekpe said.
He was again interrupted by Yakub who raised another point of order, denying the allegation of plagiarism.
Yakub demanded that Sekpe be placed under oath before continuing with the presentation.
He said: “Point of order Mr chairman. Mr. chairman, I will not sit here to take such an insult. My bill is entirely a different bill and then, you cannot come here to say my bill is similar to what it is… Mr chairman, you have to take up the matter. It is a serious matter.
“This bill has gone through the first reading, has gone through second reading in the House, this is the public hearing. So he should be put on oath before he makes his speech so that whatever he said, he should be held accountable for it.”
The committee, however, allowed Sekpe to continue with his presentation.
“The bill that is under public hearing today is more like a rehash of our bill. If the House may take note, the same bill was passed by the eighth assembly but due to gray arrears, the president could not assent to the bill and the bill came back and it was passed by this same House,” Sekpe said.
He added that allowing the bill to be passed will be a “duplication and multiplication of law.”
Following his presentation, the House committee ruled that the allegation will be looked into.