By Deji Elumoye in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has withheld assent to another bill, the Nigerian Correctional Service Bill , bringing to 38 the number of bills declined assent by President Buhari since June 2015.
This is coming just as the Senate Tuesday passed three bills namely Chemical Weapons (Prohibition) Bill 2019; Electric Power Sector Reform No. 6, 2005 (Amendment) Bill 2019 and National Board for Technical Education (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill 2019 after passing third reading.
In a letter dated April 4 addressed to Senate President Bukola Saraki and read at Plenary, President Buhari said the bill violates Sections 81 and 84 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
According to the President,: “I am declining assent to the bill because Section 44 (d) of the bill which seeks to fund the special noncustodial fund with five percent of all fines paid to the federal purse violates the provisions of Sections 81 and 84 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which guarantee the independence of the Judiciary”.
The President had last month rejected eight new bills passed by the National Assembly.
The bills included the controversial National Housing Fund Bill, Ajaokuta Steel Company Completion Fund Bill, Nigerian Aeronautical Search and Rescue Bill, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency Bill and National Biotechnology Development Agency Bill.
Others were the National Institute of Credit Administration Bill, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria Bill as well as the Chattered Institute of Training and Development of Nigeria (Establishment) Bill.
Bills earlier rejected by Buhari since June, 2015 include: Industrial Development (Income Tax Relief) Amendment Bill, Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, Stamp Duties (Amendment) Bill, National Institute of Hospitality and Tourism (Est.) Bill, National Research and Innovation Council (Est.) Bill and National Agricultural Seeds Council Bill.
Also rejected were: Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (Amendment) Bill, Chattered Institute of Entrepreneurship (Est.) Bill, Subsidiary Legislation (Legislative Scrutiny) Bill, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (Amendment) Bill, Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences (Amendment) Bill as well as six constitution amendment bills.
Others include: Nigerian Film Corporation Bill, Immigration (Amendment) Bill, Climate Change Bill, Chartered Institute of Pension Practitioners Bill, Digital Rights and Freedom Bill, National Transport Commission Bill, Federal Road Authority (Establishment) Bill, National Broadcasting Commission Amendment Bill, National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) Act (Amendment) Bill and Federal Polytechnics Act (Amendment) Bill.
The President also rejected the four versions of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill passed by the Eighth National Assembly.