Buhari Declines Assent to Five N’Assembly Bills

President Muhammadu Buhari has declined assent to five bills from the National Assembly.

The President made his decision known to the Senate via five letters which were read during plenary by Senate President Bukola Saraki.

The bills which the President refused to sign into law are the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill, 2018; Nigerian Film Commission Bill, 2018; Immigration Amendment Bill, 2018; Climate Change Bill, 2018; and Chartered Institute of Pension Practitioners of Nigeria Bill, 2018.

The president’s reasons for not assenting to the bills, as contained in the letter, range from conflicting and duplication of duties of existing government agencies, their destructive nature as well as lack of clarity.

On the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill, the President said there are “too many technical subjects the bill fails to address”, just as he cited areas such as surveillance and digital protection, lawful interception of communication, digital protection and retention. He advised that the scope of the bill be limited to the protection of human rights within the digital environment “to reduce the challenge of duplication and legislative conflict in the future”.

The climate change bill was declined because “the scope and guiding principle of the bill replicates the function of the Federal Ministry of Environment which is charged with mainstreaming climate responses and actions into government polices, but does not suggest the scrapping of the ministry”.

The Immigration Amendment bill was denied assent “due to the concerns expressed to the retroactive effective of the provisions of 38 (5) of the bill and the impact of the section on the ease of doing business initiative of the federal government. There are also concerns that if passed, the bill will be destructive to Nigerians in diaspora if other countries were to reciprocate the provisions of section 38 (5) in their immigration laws.”

On the Chartered Institute of Pension Practitioners bill, Mr Buhari said he declined assent because ‘the objectives of the Chartered Institute of Pension Practitioners created by the bill are similar to the objectives of the Signified Pension Institute of Nigeria which is already in existence and functional and this will amount to duplication of the functions of a separately constituted institute. Concerns have also been raised in connection with the propriety of the private investigate panel in conducting criminal investigation as suggested by section 8 (1) of the bill.”

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