Buhari writes senate president, Saraki, declines assent to 15 bills

President Muhammadu Buhari has written to Senate President Bukola Saraki to express his decision to decline assent to 15 bills.

Following he president’s letter, the Senate on Tuesday resolved to set up a Technical Committee to review the bills that were rejected by Mr Buhari.

The Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan (APC, Yobe) moved that the committee be established after Mr Saraki read out letters from President Muhammadu Buhari, withholding assent to the 15 bills passed by the National Assembly.

His decision to withhold assent to these bills was communicated to the Senate via several letters. Although Mr Buhari communicated his decision to the parliament while the National Assembly was on its annual recess which started in July, Mr Saraki read out the letters Tuesday – upon resumption.

The bills are National Research and Innovation Council (Est.) Bill, 2017; National Institute of Hospitality and Tourism (Est.) Bill, 2018; National Agricultural Seeds Council, 2018 and Subsidiary Legislation (Legislative Scrutiny) Bill, 2018.

Others are Stamp Duties (Amendment) Bill, 2018; Chattered Institute of Entrepreneurship (Est.) Bill, 2018; Industrial Development (Income Tax Relief) (Amendment) Bill, 2018; Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2017 and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2017.

During the break, the president also rejected the Electoral Act Amendment Bill and five constitutional amendment bills.

The president also introduced Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Bill, 2018 to the upper chamber as he requested that the bill be considered and passed into law.

In his reaction, Mr Lawan suggested that the Senate take advantage of Mr Buhari’s observations and review the bills.

“I have listened to the letters that you have read conveying the observations from Mr. President not to sign so many bills. I am of the opinion that we should take advantage of this device that is all these things that have been brought to us and understand.

“What I believe, we can have a platform to avoid this kind of things from happening. We should put in a lot of time and our very limited resources. If at the end of the day, we are not able to get what we want, we need to take prompt action.

“Therefore, I will suggest we take up a particular compromise after the chairmanship of business and rules and some loyal senators or whatever it is, we would set up a technical committee stating what happened, why those bills were not signed we may have excluded some things that may not be too serious but maybe we have not taken too much time to look at them,” he said.

Mr Saraki, thereafter, put his (Mr Lawan’s) suggestion to vote and lawmakers unanimously voted for the committee to be set up.

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