Senate Adopts Special Procedure To Pass 46 Bills
The normal procedure for law making stipulates that a bill must pass through three phases – first reading, second reading and third reading – before it could be passed into law.
But the Chairman Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Senator Ita Enang, urged federal lawmakers to invoke order 1 (b) of the Senate Standing Rules to clear the coast for the passage of the bills.
The Seventh Assembly is to expire on Thursday June 4, a situation that had put the National Assembly in a race against time to pass pending bills in both chambers.
With the clock ticking to the last minutes, the Senate in a surprising move passed the 46 bills in one swoop, without the customary legislative procedure.
Some of the bills passed are; the Tertiary Education Trust Fund Establishment Act Amendment Bill; Office of the Nigerian Financial Ombudsman Bill; Institute of Chattered Trustees of Nigeria Bill; National Convict and Criminal Records (Registry) Bill; as well as Community Service Bill.
Others are the National Commission for Rehabilitation Act (Repeal) Bill, Whistle-blower Protection Bill; Family Economic Advancement Programme (Establishment, etc) Act (repeal) Bill; Family Support Trust Fund Act (Repeal) Bill and the Anti-Torture Bill and Lobbyist (Registration and Regulation) Bill among others.
Despite Senator Enang’s explanation another Senator, George Sekibo, raised a point of order, drawing the attention of the Senate to Section 79 (1) of the Senate Standing Rules, which states the procedure for passing bills.
But when the Senate President, David Mark, called for voice vote on the bills and majority of the Senators supported the passage.
Channels Television’s correspondent, Linda Akhigbe, reported that it was clear that some lawmakers were thoroughly dissatisfied with the passage of the bills.
Following the sharp disagreement that arose in the chamber, the Senate President ruled that any lawmaker, who disagreed with the passage of the bills, could come back with a substantive motion on Thursday.