“Why I Vetoed Four National Assembly Bill” – Acting President Osinbajo Reveals

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has withheld assent to four bills passed by the National Assembly last year. The four proposed laws are National Lottery Amendment Bill; Dangerous Drug Amendment Bill; Agriculture Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund; and Currency Conversion Bill.

And to quell the growing agitations by senators who expressed readiness to override the president’s veto on the bills, the Senate President Bukola Saraki quickly declared that the upper chamber would seek legal advice before taking further step on the matter.

While the action of the acting president signals a rising assertion of his authority, it is also an early indication of potential frosty relations between him and the National Assembly. Thus, unless the two arms of government can mutually resolve the matter, it will adversely affect governance.

Osinbajo explained that “The rationale for withholding assent to the Lottery Amendment Bill is the existence of pending legal challenge to the competence of the National Assembly to legislate on the subject matter.”

The National Assembly had, in amending the Lottery Act, transferred the power to grant licences to lottery operators from states to the Federal Government for the purpose of boosting federal revenue.

On the Currency Conversion Bill, Osinbajo said: “The rationale for withholding assent to the bill is the concern regarding the modalities for the communication of asset forfeiture orders.”

The National Assembly’s motive for amending the Currency Conversion Act (Freezing Orders) was to transfer the power of the President and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor on asset forfeiture to the law courts. The amendment sought to whittle down the powers of the president to order the forfeiture of assets and transfer such powers to the court.

On the Dangerous Drug Amendment Bill, the acting president said he withheld his assent as a result of certain words and phrases that might be inconsistent with the spirit behind the amendment.

Osinbajo also said he rejected the bill on Agriculture Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund because of funding concerns and composition of the board. “The reason for withholding assent to the bill are the concerns surrounding board composition, funding arrangements, limitation of liability of funds and proposal to increase levels of uncollateralised loans from N5,000 to N250,000.”

After the letters had been read in the Senate by Saraki, a point of order was raised by Dino Melaye who quoted extensively from the 1999 Constitution and claimed that the action of the acting president and the executive branch of government had injured the principle of separation of powers.

“The role of the executive is to carry out their traditional role by signing any bill passed by the National Assembly,” Melaye claimed, insisting that the action of the acting president, if allowed to stand, would constitute a grave danger to democracy in the country and undermine the powers of the parliament.

“The National Assembly shall make laws for the peace, order and good government of the federation or any part thereof with respect to any matter included in the exclusive list set out in part one of the second schedule of this constitution.

“The role of the executive is to carry out their fundamental objective by signing anything that has been passed by this House and anyone who has a problem with it can go to court in compliance with the provisions of section 6 of the constitution. May it not be a bad day for democracy if we keep quite and allow the powers of the legislature to be usurped by the non-compliance with the provisions of the constitution.”

George Sekibo, in his own reaction, reminded the lawmakers that they have the power to override the acting president if they are not satisfied with his decision.

Saraki said the decision of Osinbajo would be examined by the legal team of the Senate after which appropriate steps would be taken on the issue.
“ I think the procedure is that we would refer this to our legal department to give us advice or interpretation on some of the things that you have raised for us to be properly guided. But I agree with you that it is a matter that we must take seriously because it goes down to the issue of separation of powers. We would get the opinion of the legal department,” he said.

Also yesterday, the House of Representatives hinted that it may override Osinbajo. The Speaker, Yakubu Dogara who informed his colleagues of the refusal by the acting president to assent to the bills mandated the House Committee on Justice to scrutinise the basis for his decision.

The House leader, Femi Gbajabiamila who spoke in the same vein enjoined the House to read through Osinbajo’s observation before taking a final stand on the bills.

Dogara said the House would be left with no option than muster the required support to override the acting president if the need arises.


Source: The Guardian

Acting President Osinbajo vetoes four bills passed by National Assembly

Nigeria’s Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, has vetoed four bills passed by the National Assembly and transmitted to the President for assent.

The bills are Dangerous Drug Amendment Bill 2016; National Lottery Bill 2016; Currency Conversion Freezing Order Amendment Bill 2016; and Agricultural Guaranteed Credit Scheme Bill 2016.

Senate President Bukola Saraki disclosed the development at the Senate plenary on Wednesday while reading Mr. Osinbajo’s letters separately conveying the refusal of assent to each of the bills.

According to the letters as read by Mr. Saraki, the acting president refused to sign the bills into law due to do the wording and spirit of the bills.

Specifically regarding the lottery bill, the concern was about pending litigation and the power of the National Assembly to legislate on the subject.

The All Progressives Congress Senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye, protested Mr. Osinbajo’s presidential veto, arguing that, following the principle of separation of powers, the presidency has the duty of assenting to bills passed by the National Assembly or approach the judiciary for redress.

But Mr. Saraki said the matter would be referred to the legal department of the National Assembly for advice.

Nigeria’s presidential system allows checks and balance, which moderates the principle of separation of powers. In essence, Nigeria’s Constitution grants the president the power to withhold assent to a bill within thirty days of receipt.

But upon presidential veto as exercised by Mr. Osinbajo, section 58(5) provides that such bill automatically becomes law if it is passed again by two-thirds majority of each of the chambers.

It is not the first time a veto would be exercised. Last year, President Muhammadu Buhari refused to assent to the initial version of the 2016 Appropriation Bill passed by the National Assembly.

Before Mr. Buhari, former President Goodluck Jonathan had at the twilight of his tenure in 2015 refused to assent to the Constitution Amendment Bill 2015 passed by the National Assembly, pointing to some anomalies.

Meanwhile, Mr. Osinbajo had days ago signed seven bills into law.


Source: Premium Times

Nigerian lawmakers propose bill to jail Ministers, others who defy them.

A bill that could see officials of the executive arm of government thrown into prison if they fail to honour a summon by the legislature has passed second reading in the House of Representatives.


The bill also recommended an alternative fine of up to N1 million for any official found guilty of contempt of the National Assembly.


The sponsor of the bill, Sunday Karim, said during plenary on Thursday that lawmakers were frustrated by frequent refusal of members of the executive arm of government, especially ministers and directors-general, to honour invitations of investigative committees in both the Senate and the House.


Mr. Karim said his bill seeks to bolster the provisions of the Legislative Powers and Privileges Act of 2004 which he said he been repeatedly desecrated by government officials.


“This bill is meant to assist our oversight functions,” Mr. Karim said.


Two lawmakers, Mohammed Soba and Iduma Igariwey, who raised a point of order to oppose the bill were ruled out by the Deputy Speaker, Yusuf Lasun, who presided over legislative activities for the day.


Source: Premium Times

Buhari assents to over 30 bills in 18 months – Ita Enang

Ita Enang, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), on Wednesday said that President Muhammadu Buhari assented to over 30 bills in a year and six months.

Mr. Enang, who made this known while briefing journalists in Abuja said that the achievement was worthy of note.

He commended the 8th National Assembly for being able to pass the bills within a short period, describing it as a great feat.

According to him, the period of the inauguration of the 8th National Assembly has been rewarding, interesting and active as well as productive.

“This National Assembly under the leadership of Dr Bukola Saraki and Dogara has been very rewarding in terms of legislation as seen in the number of bills passed.

“This shows that as the legislature ages, more of its powers are being exercised.

“Some days ago, Mr. President assented to a little over about 30 bills within one year and six months of the inauguration of this present National Assembly.

“This surpasses every record that has been made by the legislature since the advent of democracy in this republic.

“This in my opinion is about the principles of this administration that each arm of government will concentrate on its core responsibilities and the legislature has concentrated on its core responsibilities,’’ he said.

He also praised the executive and the judiciary arms of government for the achievements recorded so far.

“Therefore, it is wise for us to say congratulations to My President, the legislature and the judiciary.’’

He further commended the media for detailed coverage of the activities of the National Assembly within the period under review.

However, he urged Nigerians to respond more to public hearings on bills, organised by the legislature.

According to him, public hearings will afford Nigerians the opportunity to contribute their quota to making robust laws that will benefit all Nigerians.

On whether or not the 2017 budget process will be devoid of irregularities as witnessed in the 2016 budget, Enang assured that the process would be smoother and shorter.

According to him, the 2017 budget will not create controversies in view of improved level of consultation between the legislature and executive.

He added that the improved relationship between the two arms of government was evident in the level of consultation that took place before the presentation of the budget by the president on Dec. 14.

“ There was front loading with the legislature by the executive, wherein the ministers consulted and related with the chairmen and members of the respective committees in building up the budget.”

Senate Begins Final Work on Economic Recovery Bills Today

The Senate will this week inch towards passing half of its historic and the much needed economic reform package as six of the 11 priority economic growth and reform bills have been scheduled for public hearings between today and Thursday.

The legislation scheduled for public hearing today includes the National Development Bank of Nigeria Bill, which is intended to provide short, medium and long term financing to participating financial institutions for loans to small scale, medium and industrial enterprises in agro allied businesses, manufacturing, mining; and the National Road Fund Act to fund the rehabilitation and maintenance of the national road system.

Also, public hearing on the Federal Roads Authority Act, which is to manage the federal roads network so that it is safe and efficient, with a view towards meeting the socio-economic demands of the country; and the Customs and Excise Reform Act, which seeks to reform the administration and management of the Customs Service for greater accountability and revenue generation, will hold the same day.

Tomorrow, Land and Marine Transport Committee will hold public hearing on the National Transport Commission Act. The legislation establishes a National Transport Commission as an effective, independent and impartial authority in the transport sector.

On Wednesday and Thursday, the Committee on Upstream Petroleum will hold public hearings on the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIB).

This long-awaited legislation will establish a framework for the creation of commercially oriented and profit driven petroleum entities that ensures value addition and the internationalisation of the petroleum industry.

Procedurally, legislation is referred to the committee with the appropriate jurisdiction for it to hold public hearing after the bill has passed the first and second reading during the Senate plenary session.

Once the committee submits the public hearing report to the full Senate, the legislation is subject to a third reading, or final passage by members sitting at plenary as a committee of whole.

Read More: thisdaylive

Buhari signs eight bills into law.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday signed eight bills sent to him by the National Assembly into law.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang, disclosed this to State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.


He described the development as unprecedented in the history of the present administration.

Senate Suspends Grazing, Ranches Bills’ Passage

Senate has stepped down the second reading of three bills on cattle rearing in the country.

They are ‘A Bill for An Act to Provide for the Establishment of Grazing Areas Management Agency and For Other Related Matters 2016’ sponsored by Senator Rabi’u Kwankwaso (Kano-Central) and ‘A Bill for An Act to Provide for the Establishment of National Ranches Commission for the Regulation, Management, Preservation and Control of Ranches and for Connected Purposes 2016 sponsored by Senator Barnabas Gemade
(Benue North-East).

The third is ‘A Bill for An Act to Control the Keeping and Movement of Cattle in Nigeria and for Other Related Matters Thereto 2016’ sponsored by Senator Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu-North).

The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who raised a point of order when the lawmakers began to treat the bills during Wednesday’s plenary, pointed out that the Senate lacked the powers to deal with matters that are on the Concurrent List, except on the Exclusive List.

The Majority Leader of the Senate, Senator Ali Ndume, also supported Ekweremadu’s point.

Read More:


Breaking: Nigerian Senate Passes 46 Bills In Less Than 10 Mins

The Senate Wednesday passed 46 bills into law in less than ten minutes. The passage was done immediatly the bills were presented by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Senator Ita Enang.

But the passage of the bills caused an uproar in the upper chamber, even after the voice vote by the presiding officer and Senate President, David Mark, who announced, ” the Ayes have it.”

Senator Mark, told those who were not satisfied with the passage of the bills to come tomorrow, being the next legislative day with their names and signatures for consideration.

Before the bills were passed, the Senate had suspended Order 79 (1) of the Senate Standing Orders and deemed all the Bills as having passed first, second and third readings on the floor of the Senate.

Details soon

Source – Vanguard Ngr

Jonathan Signs Anti-Violence, Immigration Bills Into Law

Two bills – Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) bill 2015 and the Immigration bill 2015 – earlier passed by the National Assembly, have been signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan.

With the presidential assent, the two bills have now become Acts.

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, confirmed Mr. Jonathan had appended his signature to the bills to State House correspondents, on Monday.

The Senate passed the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) bill 2015 on May 4.

The Act seeks to prohibit female circumcision or private part mutilation, forceful ejection from home and harmful widowhood practices.

It also prohibits abandoning of spouse, children and other dependents without sustenance, battery and harmful traditional practices.