By Adedayo Akinwale ín Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has signed five bills into law.
The bills are: Obafemi Awolowo University Transitional Provisional Amendment Bill 2019, the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Bauchi Amendment Bill 2019, University of Maiduguri Amendment Bill 2019, the National Fertiliser Quality Control bill 2019, as well as the Nigeria Council of Food Science and Technology Establishment Bill 2019.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly matters (Reps), Umar El-Yakub, disclosed this while briefing House of Representatives correspondents on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said that the university Acts are similar because they specify the minimum qualification of the chairman of the governing council of the universities, which he said is a minimum of university degree or its equivalent, while the nominee must also be physically fit to be able to chair the activity of the council.
El-Yakub said that the Act also seeks to regulate the ownership of intellectual property, stressing that the university authorities would make governance code as far as intellectual property are concerned.
He explained that the Act also included the provision of pre-action notice, adding that any staff of the university or student that is aggrieved and felt that he needed to sue the university, have to give the one month notice in writing to the university authority that he intends to sue and seek justice.
El-Yakub added: “The National Fertiliser Quality Control Bill 2019 is a bill that repeals the National Fertiliser Quality Control Act, as well as the repealment of the National Fertiliser Board. This Act put measures that safeguard the interest of the farmers. Essentially, it seeks to address the issues of nutrients deficiency in the composition of fertiliser. It also seeks to ensure that there is weight loss, that is to say that the baggaging is complete and also protects the farmers against mixed branding or non branded fertilisers.”
He noted that the Act also helps to provide an enabling environment for investment in the production of fertiliser in Nigeria.
The presidential aide noted that the Act equally seeks to regulate by ensuring that people that operate in the sector must have a registration or permit before can be able blend, produce, manufacture or import fertiliser.
El-Yakub noted that the Act mandates the distributors of fertilisers to obtain a permit or certificate of registration with the authorising authority or agency.
He said the Act ensures that there are penalties for anyone that contravenes the Act.
He added that adulteration, importation or selling of an unbranded, mixed branded fertiliser, or underweight ferterliser attracts a minimum fine of N5 million on everyday that the act is commited, while distributors of such would attract a fine of N500,000 on everyday the act is committed.
El-Yakub explained that the main objective of Act is to ensure that framers and farm produce are protected so that the right nutrients are applied to the farms, as well as to ensure that the right brands of fertilisers are sold.
He noted that the Nigeria Council of Food Science and Technology Establishment Bill 2019 seeks to establish the Council in order to regulate the activities of the food industry.
El-Yakub stressed that the council would be chaired by someone who would be recommended to the president for his approval by the Nigerian Institute of Food and Technology (NIFST), through the Minister of Science and Technology.
He added that the council would also have a vice-chairman who would be the incumbent president of the Institute and would also support the chairman.
The tenure of the chairman, he said, would be four years with an option of additional four years.