Nigeria: Buhari Withholds Assent to Five More Bills, Rejection Hits 26

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Abuja — President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday withheld assent to five more bills passed by the National Assembly.

The latest rejection brings to 26 pieces of legislation passed by the eighth legislature and spurned by the Nigerian leader.

In a letter to Senate President Bukola Saraki and read at plenary, the president listed the fresh bills declined approval to include the Nigerian Film Corporation Bill; Immigration (Amendment) Bill; Climate Change Bill; Chattered Institute of Pension Practitioners Bill as well as the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill.

The nation's first citizen said he rejected the Immigration Bill because it would have an adverse effect on the Nigeria's position on the Ease of Doing Business ranking, adding that the Chattered Institute of Pension Practitioners Bill amounted to duplication of functions of an existing institute.

Others that have suffered similar fate since 2015 are Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB); Stamp Duties (Amendment) Bill; 2018 Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill; Industrial Development (Income Tax Relief) (Amendment) Bill; National Research and Innovation Council (Establishment) Bill; National Institute of Hospitality and Tourism (Establishment) Bill; and National Agricultural Seeds Council Bill.

The list also includes Chattered Institute of Entrepreneurship (Establishment) Bill; Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences (Amendment) Bill; Subsidiary Legislation (Legislative Scrutiny) Bill; Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (Amendment) Bill and five constitution amendment bills.

The rest were National Transport Commission Bill; Federal Road Authority (Establishment) Bill; National Broadcasting Commission Amendment Bill; National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) Act (Amendment) Bill and Federal Polytechnics Act (Amendment) Bill.

The red chamber had earlier set up a Technical Committee on Declined Assent to Bills, chaired by David Umaru, to look into the matter.

Although the panel laid its report last December, the document is, however, yet to be considered.

Saraki had on September 10, 2018 raised the committee to review 15 critical bills earlier declined recognition by Buhari.

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