Buhari Declines Assent to Five Bills

Muhammadu Buhari
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Deji Elumoye in Abuja

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

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

The Bills that were denied presidential assent included the Maritime Security Operations Coordinating Board (Amendment) Bill, 2018; Revenue Mobilisation Allocation And Fiscal Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2018; the Bankruptcy And Insolvency Bill, 2018; the 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 Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (Amendment) Bill, claiming 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 Mobilisation 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 president’s decision to decline assent to the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Bill.

The president also said he refused to assent to the Federal Polytechnic (Amendment) Bill 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 denied presidential assent, claiming 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.

Meanwhile, the president 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 the Senate President, Buhari requested 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 and Finance); Omar Mohammed (ED, Operations) 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 the Director, Financial Intelligence Unit.

The Senate later 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.