Reps threaten Jonathan over bills •Why we can’t move against him – SenateHouse, Legislature Friday, June 8th, 2012
THE House of Representatives chairman on Rules and Business, Honourable Albert Sam-Tsokwa, on Thursday bemoaned the attitude of the presidency to non-implementation of the National Assembly resolutions and assenting to bills passed by the legislature.
The House has, therefore, threatened to henceforth over-ride the presidency if bills passed to it are not assented to after 30 days as prescribed by the 1999 Constitution as amended.
Honourable Sam-Tsokwa, who stated this while briefing newsmen, said that the House would not stop churning out good resolutions and bills for the betterment of Nigeria.
Commenting on the activities of the House in the last one year, Honourable Sam-Tsokwa explained that the House had lived up to expectation in the year under review, adding that there was still room for improvement.
He noted that the marching order of the House leadership on oversight functions had been positive, saying that because of that, ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government now have their budgets duly approved before implementation.
The chairman, who also gave a breakdown of bills, motions and petitions treated by the House in the last one year, said that 32 bills were passed, stressing that the House received a total of 273 bills, most of which were in the second reading, 278 motions were also treated and 178 petitions were receiving attention from the committee.
He equally hinted that the leadership of the House was not in support of any House committee seeking logistics support from MDAs, saying that the House leadership had from the onset made provisions for their smooth operations.
In a related development, facts emerged at the Senate on Thursday that some of the bills awaiting President Jonathan’s assent were not passed by the 7th Senate.
Consequently, the National Assembly cannot invoke constitutional powers of override because the time required has expired.
“For now, not many bills passed by the 7th National Assembly pending assent are unreasonably long. Unfortunately, this assembly cannot invoke constitutional powers of override because these bills were not passed by the seventh National Assembly,” informed the Senate.
Briefing newsmen on the activities marking the end of the first legislative session of the 7th Senate, chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Senator Ita Enang, disclosed that most of the bills in contention were passed by the sixth National Assembly.
Enang insisted that: “The sixth Assembly that passed same stood dissolved by effuxion of time and proclamation of Mr President. Some of these bills are, however, being again reintroduced de-novo by distinguished senators and are at various stages of legislative progression.”
The bills in contention, according to him, included National Assembly Service Bill; Harmonised Retirement Age of Professors of Tertiary Institution Bill; Chartered Institute of Capital Registrars Bill; Institution of Certified Public Accountants of Nigeria Bill; Nigerian Council of Food Science and Technology Bill; Personal Income Tax Amendment Bill; Discrimination against Persons Living with HIV and AIDS (Prohibition) Act 2011.
Others were National Biosafety Management Agency Bill; National Agriculture Seed Council Bill; Federal Capital Territory Appropriation Bill 2011; State of the Nation Address Bill 2011; River Basins Development Authorities (Amendment) Bill; Nigerian Integrated Water Resources Management Commission; Federal Capital Territory Water Board Bill; Air Force Institute of Technology of Nigeria Bill and the National Tobacco (Control) Bill 2011.
He disclosed that the Senate passed a total of 21 bills within the first legislative session, which began in June 2011, noting that a total of 178 bills were introduced in the Senate within the same period.
Out of the bills, he said 16 were executive bills, while the rest were private members’ bills.
According to him, 122 of the bill were at the first reading stage, while 19 had been read for a second time and referred to the relevant committee.
“Twenty-six others are awaiting publication in the journal, while nine were withdrawn for re-presentation by sponsors. So far, a total number of 21 bills have been passed by the Senate.”
The bills passed within the period were Institute of Registered Safety Professionals; Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill 2011, among others.
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