Constitution Review: NASS to investigate Buhari’s refusal to sign 19 bills
The National Assembly (NASS) chairman, Ahmad Lawan, said that the legislature would engage the executive to investigate why President Muhammadu Buhari is yet to sign 19 of the 35 alteration bills.
Mr Lawan, also the president of the Senate, said this on Tuesday at the resumption of the plenary from the governorship and states assembly elections.
Mr Buhari had, on March 17, signed 16 constitutional amendment bills into law after NASS transmitted 35 constitution amendment bills for assent on January 24.
Mr Lawan said for the 19 bills that the president did not approve, “I believe that there is a need for us to do further engagement between the NASS and the executive arm of government.
“Our Constitution Review Committee will engage the executive arm of government so that we go through the items in those bills that have not been assented to.
“What are the issues; are those issues, issues we can deal with immediately because we have put in a lot of resources, a lot of time to produce those bills?
“I believe there may be a few explanations that we will make, and they will be okay, and we will do that almost immediately because time is of the essence.
“Where the issues are too much to handle, I think the 10th NASS should be able to attend to such issues.”
The 19 bills not signed by the president included the fifth alteration bill, number 24.
“This sought an Act to Alter the Second Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999.
“To empower the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly to summon the president and governors of states to answer questions on issues which the National and State Houses of Assembly have the powers to make.
“Alteration bill number 7, which sought for an Act to Alter the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, to compel persons to obey or comply with Legislative Summons, was refused assent by the president.”
The president of the Senate listed the 16 bills signed by the president to include the fifth alteration, Bill Number 3, which is “To change the name Afikpo North and Afikpo South Local Government Areas; and for Related Matters.
“Constitution (Fifth Alteration) Bill No 6 to Provide for the Financial Independence of State Houses of Assembly and State Judiciary; and for Related Matters”.
Mr Lawan said that the fifth alteration bill No. 6, which dealt with the financial independence of state houses of assembly and state judiciary, was very critical for the development of democracy in Nigeria and good governance also.
“We believe that the judiciary should be financially independent just like the federal judiciary because it gives them that power, that authority that without fear or favour, they can make their judgment and conduct their affairs,” Mr Lawan said.