Buhari Declines Assent to Five Bills

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Muhammadu Buhari

*Names Paul Tarfa chairman of north east devt commission

*Senate adjourns plenary to honour late House member

By Deji Elumoye in Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has declined assent to five bills transmitted to him by the National Assembly in 2018.

President Buhari’s decision to decline assent was communicated to the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, in separate letters dated January 4, 2019.

The Bills refused presidential assent include the Maritime Security Operations Coordinating Board ( Amendment) Bill, 2018; Revenue Mobilization Allocation And Fiscal Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2018; The Bankruptcy And Insolvency Bill, 2018; Federal Polytechnic (Amendment) Bill, 2018 and The Energy Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2018.

Buhari said in line with Section 58(4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) he declined assent to the Maritime Security Operations Coordinating Board (Amendment) Bill because the proposed amendments will create distortions and duplications with the functions and operations of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

He, therefore, urged the Senate to focus on passing the suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Bill currently before the National Assembly “to achieve a more comprehensive review of operations in the maritime sector, within the objective of realigning its agencies for more efficient service delivery and focus on the security of our maritime frontiers”.

The President gave two reasons for declining assent to the Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (Amendment) Bill saying the Bill will interfere with and obstruct the smooth administration of revenue generating agencies of government while it also sought to confer the powers of oversight of the revenue currently vested in the President and the Minister of Finance to the Revenue Mobilization Commission and negates the existing provisions of Section 51 of the Federal Inland Revenue Commission.

Drafting issues that affect the clarity and understanding of the bill which may impair the effective operation of the bill as well as the need to properly domesticate and align the bill to Nigerian law were the reasons given for the presidential decision to decline assent to The Bankruptcy and Insolvency Bill.

The Federal Polytechnic (Amendment) Bill was refused presidential assent because Section 16(1)(2) of the Amendment Bill strips the President of the power to approve members of the governing council as obtained in the Principal Act.

The Energy Commission (Amendment) Bill was also refused presidential assent as it infringes on the Rural Electrification Agency’s powers to carry out its mandate with particular reference to the promotion and development of unserved and under-served rural communities across Nigeria.

President Buhari has also nominated Major-General Paul Tarfa (rtd), as Chairman of the 11-man Board of the North-East Development Commission.

In a two-page request letter dated January 9 and read at plenary yesterday by Senate President Bukola Saraki, President Buhari said he was requesting the Senate to confirm Tarfa, a former military governor of old Oyo state and 10 others as Chairman and members of the NEDC in accordance with the provision of Section 2(5)(b) of the North-East Development Commission.

The other nominees include Mohammed Alkali (MD/CEO); Musa Yashi (ED Humanitarian Affairs); Muhammed Jawa (ED, Admin &Finance); Omar Mohammed (ED, Opeeations) and Hon David Kente (North-East).

Others are Asmau Mohammed (North West); Hon Benjamin Adanyi (North Central); Hon Olawale Oshun (South West); T. E. O Ekechi (South East) and Obasuke Macdonald (South South).
President Buhari also nominated Dr Hamman Tukur for confirmation by the Senate as a Director in the Financial Intelligence Unit.

In a letter dated January 7 and read at plenary yesterday, President Buhari said he was nominating Tukur as a Director in accordance with the provision of Section5(1) of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit Act 2018.

Also yesterday, the Senate adjourned till today in deference to the death of a member of the House of Representatives, Hon Abayomi Ayeola, who died on December 30, 2018.

This was sequel to a motion moved by Senate Deputy Chief Whip ,Senator Francis Alimhekena ( Edo North) that in line with the tradition of the National Assembly, the Senate should observe a minute silence and adjourn sitting till today in honour of the late lawmaker.

Senate Minority Leader, Senator Biodun Olujinmi, was on hand to second the motion after which a minute silence was observed in memory of the lawmaker representing Ibeju Lekki Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives.