Bill for Electronic Administration of Oaths Passes Second Reading at House

Udora Orizu in Abuja

The House of Representatives at plenary yesterday passed through second reading a bill seeking to repeal the Oaths Act of 2004 and enact the Oath Bill to make provisions for digital and electronic means of administering Oaths and affirmation in Nigeria.

The proposed legislation titled, “A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Oaths Act, Cap. O1, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and Enact the Oaths Bill to take cognizance of Technological Advancements and make Provisions for Digital and Electronic means of Administering Oaths and Affirmations in Nigeria; and for Related Matters,” was sponsored by Hon. Chudy Momah and Hon. Ugonna Ozurigbo.

In his debate, one of the sponsors Momah said the proposed legislation seeks a move away from mundane way of doing things and bring swearing of oaths in tandem with the 24th century technological advancements.

Shortly after the sponsor led the debate on its general principles, the Deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Toby Okechukwu in his contribution sought to know the reason why they want to repeal the Oaths Act.

Okechukwu said, “It is very apparent for me opposing this bill. The old act needs to be brought to speed to contemporary issues.”

I believe that the persons sponsoring this Bill are the chairman ministry of Justice and chairman Federal Capital Territory Judiciary and others. So I agree that oath taking can be updated.”

Another lawmaker, Hon. Sada Soli suggested that rather than repeal and amendment should be done to the principal act.

On her part, Hon. Linda Ikpeazu called for balance of the physical and electronic.

The Deputy Speaker, Hon. Idris Wase was of the view that this might not be the right time for technological advancement for oaths taking.

Thereafter the Bill was put to a voice votes and majority of the lawmakers voted in favor and it was passed.

Also at the plenary, the lawmakers in adopting a motion moved by the Chairman, Rules and Business, Hon. Hassan Fulata, discharged some committees on bills’ referrals for not presenting reports on the bills, contrary to the provisions of Order Seventeen, Rule 3 (g) of the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives.

The bills which were referred to the committees on Nigeria Local Content Development and Monitoring, North East Development Commission, Defence, Police Affairs, financial Crimes, Anti-Corruption, Federal Capital Territory and Tertiary Education and Services, include, “ Nigerian Local Content Development and Enforcement Bill, 2020(HB. 837)

North East Development Commission Act (Amendment) Bill, 2020(HB.1152) Armed Forces Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021(HB. 1405) Police Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021(HB. 1406), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021 (HB. 1409).

Others are Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act (Amendment) Bill, 2021 (HB. 1410), Federal Capital Territory Outdoor Signage and Advertisement Agency Bill, 2021(HB. 1232), and Chartered Institute of Mentoring and Coaching (Establishment) Bill, 2021 (HB. 1501).

Meanwhile, the lawmakers observed that some fundamental issues which required fresh legislative action emerged after critical analysis and decided to recall the following bills passed by the National Assembly and transmitted to the president – Federal Medical Centres (Establishment) Bill, 2019 (HB. 182); Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (Establishment) Bill, 2019 (HB. 465); and Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria Bill, 2019 (HB. 461).”

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