President Muhammadu Buhari has written to Senate President Bukola Saraki to express his decision to decline assent to 15 bills.
Following the president’s letter, Senate has resolved to set up a Technical Committee to review the rejected bills.
Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan moved that the committee be established after Saraki read out letters from the president withholding assent to the 15 bills passed by the National Assembly.
Although the president communicated his decision to reject the bills when the National Assembly was on its annual recess, Saraki only read out the letters, yesterday, upon resumption of plenary.
The bills are: National Research and Innovation Council (Est.) Bill, 2017; National Institute of Hospitality and Tourism (Est.) Bill, 2018; National Agricultural Seeds Council, 2018 and Subsidiary Legislation (Legislative Scrutiny) Bill, 2018.
Others are Stamp Duties (Amendment) Bill, 2018; Chattered Institute of Entrepreneurship (Est.) Bill, 2018; Industrial Development (Income Tax Relief) (Amendment) Bill, 2018; Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2017 and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2017.
During the recess, the president also rejected the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill and five constitutional amendment bills.
The president also introduced Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Bill, 2018 to the upper chamber as he requested that the bill be considered and passed into law. In his reaction, Lawan suggested that Senate take advantage of Buhari’s observations and review the bills. “I have listened to the letters that you have read conveying the observations from Mr. President not to sign so many bills. I am of the opinion that we should take advantage of this device that is, all these things that have been brought to us and understand.
“What I believe we can have a platform to avoid this kind of things from happening. We should put in a lot of time and our very limited resources. If at the end of the day, we are not able to get what we want, we need to take prompt action.
“Therefore, I will suggest we take up a particular compromise after the chairmanship of Business and Rules committee, and some loyal senators, or whatever it is, we set up a technical committee stating what happened and why those bills were not signed. We may have excluded some things that may not be too serious but, maybe, we have not taken too much time to look at them,” he said.
Thereafter, Saraki, put Lawan’s suggestion to vote and lawmakers unanimously voted for the committee to be set up.
Meanwhile, in a September 10 letter, the president has requested senate to confirm the appointment of Olanipekun Olukoyede as Secretary of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
This came amid the pending confirmation of Ibrahim Magu, whose nomination by the president as substantive EFCC chairman was rejected twice by the lawmakers.