Five Major Bills That Stood The Eight Assembly Out
Activities of the Eight National Assembly came to an end yesterday June 6, 2019, after four years of legislation.
The lawmakers, led by Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, held a valedictory session at the National Assembly complex, in Abuja to mark the end of an era which was inaugurated on June 9, 2019.
At the session, Saraki said that all the 109 senators can pride themselves with the fact that they put humanity first and ensured that they cracked the codes of several bills that were not dealt with by past assemblies.
It should be a matter of pride to all 109 senators and to our offspring that, in this chamber, we put humanity first. I will always be proud of the humaneness of the 8th Senate.
We cracked the code of several Bills that had eluded Senates before us.
However, how did the Eight Assembly fair in its primary responsibilities? What landmark bills did they pass that stood them out? How many bills did the legislature pass in the four-year parliamentary?
Here are five major bills the lawmakers passed that got Nigerians cheering:
- Age Reduction Bill: Popularly known as Not Too Young To Run bill was passed with votes of (86-10) in Senate on July 26, 2017, and 261-23 in House of Representatives on July 27, 2017.
The Not Too Young To Run bill movement which began in May 2016, was led by young Nigerians and pushed by several civil society groups and was sponsored in House of Representatives by Tony Nwulu and in the Senate by Abdul-Aziz Nyako.
The bill aimed at alteration in sections 65, 106, 131, 177 of the Constitution of Nigeria, which seek to reduce the age of running for elective positions for House of Assembly and House of Representatives from 30 year old to 25 year old, Senate and Governorship from 35 year old to 30 year old and office of the president from 40 to 30 and independent candidature in.
However, President Muhammdu Buhari signed the bill on May 31, 2018, signed the Not Too Young To Run bill into law, but age limits for Senators and Governors were, however, not reduced.
- Police Reform Bill: The Police Reform Bill, 2019 (SB 683), was passed at plenary by the Senate on Wednesday, 17 April 2019.
The Bill seeks to create a Police Force that is more responsible and responsive to the needs of the public as enshrined in its mandate and in line with the values of fairness, justice and equity.
The report was presented by Senator Tijjanj Kaura, while, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa seconded that the Senate considers the report of the Committee.
- National Minimum Wage Amendment Bill: The National Assembly passed the minimum wage bill on March 19 and it was transmitted to President Buhari on April 2, 2019.
The minimum wage increase from N18, 000 to N30,000 was last reviewed during the administration of Goodluck Jonathan in March 2011.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, disclosed that This makes it compulsory for all employers of labour in Nigeria to pay to their workers the sum of N30, 000.
- Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB): The PIGB is the first part of the Petroleum Industry Bill, which the National Assembly had failed to pass since 2008.
The lawmakers broke it into three parts for easier passage, but the bill had suffered several setbacks after it was rejected by President Buhari.
However, the Senate during plenary, reworked and passed the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill in April 2019.
According to Saraki, the eight Assembly broke the decade-old Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into a quartet of workable bills including the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), whose passage stands as a major achievement of the 8th Senate.
- Whistle-Blowers Protection Bill: The bill, titled Witness Protection Programme (Establishment etc), SB 157, was passed in 2017.
It seeks to encourage and facilitate the disclosures of improper conduct by public officers and public bodies.
It also seeks to ensure that persons who make disclosures and persons who may suffer reprisals in relation to such disclosures are protected under the law.
However, the Federal Ministry of Finance launched an anti-corruption programme that encouraged people to voluntarily disclose information about fraud, bribery, looted government funds, financial misconduct, government assets and any other form of corruption or theft.
A whistle-blower who provides information to the ministry’s portal will be rewarded or entitled to 2.5% – 5% from the recovered funds by the Federal Government.
By August 2017, the ministry received a total of 5000 tips.
The Eight Assembly passed a total of 293 bills, more than its three predecessors; the seventh Senate passed 128 bills; sixth, 72 and fourth senate 129.
Saraki also expressed delight in the passage of the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) Bill which saved the country from being expelled from the global body of the Egmont Group.
The Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) Bill was one of the major anti-corruption laws we passed, and it saved the country from being expelled from the global body of the Egmont Group.
And as recently as May 22, we passed the Nigerian Football Federation Bill which had been caught in the legislative bottleneck for 15 years.
He ended the occasion by saying; I have no regrets because, as first among equals, we bear collective responsibility for those decisions. As a leader, however, I take responsibility. The buck stops with me.
The Ninth National Assembly will be inaugurated on June 11, 2019, where new leaders of both chambers will emerge.
The hope that more bills that are centred on the development and well-being of Nigerians will be at the fore of deliberations.