Despite protest by some lawmakers yesterday, the Senate has empowered the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to seize debtors’ assets even if it is not captured in a collateral.
This followed the passage of the AMCON Act No. 2, 2019 (Amendment Bill 2021) presented by the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions.
The report was presented by its chairman, Sen Uba Sani (APC, Kaduna Central).
However, some lawmakers pointed out that some of the clauses will empower AMCON to go beyond its mandate.
Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege, who made this observation, drew the attention of Senate President Ahmad Lawan to the clauses, noting that, if passed, they would empower the corporation to go beyond their mandate.
Other lawmakers noted that if AMCON goes beyond its mandate, it would generate legal issues, as the corporation would go beyond what the customer tendered at the time of taking the loan.
Lawan said that this is not the time to make corrections as the Bill had already passed second reading where the lawmakers would have made their observations and corrections.
The complaints of the lawmakers did not deter the Senate president from ruling in favour of the clause, even when the voices against the clause overwhelmed those supporting it.
After the ruling, Senator Akpan Bassey, who noted that AMCON is not a primary lender, raised a point of order to challenge the decision of Lawan, which degenerated into the following altercations.
Lawan said: “Are you challenging the ruling that the ‘yes’ had it? That is your opinion… This is something the majority of our colleagues have voted for, let’s allow this thing to be implemented, if there’s any difficulty then come back”.
Bassey said: “This is subject to challenge in a court of law because if I’m a debtor and tendered a collateral – I have signed everything, you cannot go beyond the context of that clause; you can’t. It will be challenged.”
Lawan replied: “Thank you very much Bassey, when it’s time to legislate, we all come here with a very clear mind, that we are doing this for our country. We don’t have any interest but national interest when the majority of our colleagues here in their judgement feel this is the right thing to do.”