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Senate Probes Rejection of 19 Constitution Amendment Bills by Buhari

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The Nigerian Senate has constituted a committee to probe why President Muhammadu Buhari did not assent to 19 out of the 35 constitution review bills transmitted to him by the National Assembly.

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, on Tuesday, made this assertion in his remarks during resumption of plenary after the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly election.

President Buhari had last week signed into law 16 constitution amendment bills out of the 35 bills transmitted to him by the ninth National Assembly.

Lawan commended President Buhari for assenting to 16 constitution amendment bills, particularly the bills to guarantee the independence of state legislatures and the judiciary.

He, however, said the Upper chamber will engage with the Presidency to understand why the remaining 19 bills were not assented to.

Lawan said: “President Buhari assented to 16 bills out of the 35 the National Assembly worked on for the constitutional amendment and of course, our State Houses of assembly also worked on them.

“The President did not assent to 19 and that makes the balance of 35. While I’m talking about these bills now, it is because of what we’ve been able to achieve in the 9th National Assembly and there are so many important developments by signing those bills and of course we also believe that those bills have not been passed.

“The fifth alteration No 6 which deals with financial independence of State Houses of Assembly and State Judiciary are very critical for the development of democracy in Nigeria and for good governance also.

“I believe that the President acted very wisely on this by signing the bill because just like we have financial independence here at the national level, our state legislatures should enjoy similar independence so that they are cut off from the schemes of the legislatures in the states to the executive arm in their various states and of course when the judiciary does not enjoy financial independence, you can imagine what will happen.

“We believe that the state judiciary should be financially independent just like the federal judiciary is because it gives them that power, that authority that without fear or favour, they can make their judgement and conduct their affairs.

“For the 19 Bills that the President did not assent to, I believe that there is need for further engagement between the National Assembly and the Executive arm of government.

“Our Constitution Review Committee should 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 and I believe that maybe there are few explanations that we will make and they will be okay and we will do that almost immediately because time is of essence.

“Where the issues are too much to handle, I think the 10th National Assembly should be able to attend to such issues. I commend the 9th National Assembly for working assiduously for Nigerians.”

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