Politics, Seat of Power

UNPRECEDENTED! Senate passes 46 bills in 10 minutes

The Nigerian Senate may just have landed itself into the Guinness Book of Records as less than 24 hours to the expiration of its tenure (7th session) on Wednesday, June 3, 2015, they passed 46 bills in 10 minutes.

The radical action to adopt the 46 bills was sequel to the adoption of a motion sponsored by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Ita Enang.

Sen. Enang had called on the Upper Chamber to invoke Order 1 (b) of the Senate Standing Order to adopt a Special Procedure on the bills. He explained that the bills had earlier been passed by the Lower Chamber (House of Representatives), and transmitted to the Senate for concurrence. He noted that by “mutual consent and legislative reciprocates, the House of Representatives is adopting same special procedure and passing such bills passed by the Senate and transmitted to her for concurrence.”

Based on this, he called for the suspension of Order 79 (1) of the Senate Standing Orders and deemed all the bills as having passed their first, second and third readings. Expectedly, this led to a rowdy session as some senators protested against the procedure being used in passing the bills. Before putting the motion to voice vote, now-former Senate President, David Mark expressed reservations about the process.

According to him, the senators should have read through the bills to know what they were saying other than hastily passing them. Although the motion was approved by voice vote, protests persisted. The bills passed are:

  1. Tertiary Education Trust Fund (Establishment etc) Act (Amendment), 2015.
  2. Office of the Nigerian Financial Ombudsman Bill.
  3. Institute of Chartered Trustees of Nigeria Bill.
  4. National Convicts and Criminal Records (Registry) Bill, 2015.
  5. Community Service Bill.
  6. People’s Bank of Nigeria Act (Repeal) Bill.
  7. Nigerian Bank for Commerce and Industry Act (Repeal).
  8. National Commission for Rehabilitation Act (Repeal) Bill.
  9. Maintenance Orders Act (Repeal) Bill, 2015.
  10. Federal Saving Bank Act (Repeal) Bill 2015.
  11. Loan (State Development) Act (Repeal) Bill 2015.
  12. Nigerians in Diaspora (Establishment) Commission, 2015.
  13. Electronic Transactions Bill, 2015.
  14. Chartered Institute of Statiscians of Nigeria, 2015.
  15. Nigerian Metallurgical Industry Bill, 2014.
  16. Federal Audit Commission Bill, 2015.
  17. National Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation Act (Amendment) Bill.
  18. Nigerian International Financial Centre (Establishment, etc) Bill.
  19. Investment and Securities (Amendment) Bill.
  20. Nigerian Communications Satellite Bill.
  21. Federal Capital Territory Education Resources Centre (Establishment) Bill.
  22. Labour Institutions (Establishment).
  23. Witness Protection Programme Bill.
  24. Institute of Mediators and Conciliators Bill.
  25. Legal Education Act (Establishment) Bill.
  26. National Health Insurance Commission Bill.
  27. National Economic Intelligence Committee (Establishment) Act (Repeal) Bill.

28.Federal College Dental Technology and Therapy Bill.

  1. Federal Capital Territory College of Nursing and Midwifery Bill.
  2. Oaths Act (Amendment) Bill.
  3. Federal Capital Territory Hospital Management Board (Establishment) Bill.
  4. Passport (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Amendment) Bill.
  5. Chartered Institute of Management Accounts of Nigeria.
  6. Federal Capital Territory Water Board (Establishment) Bill.
  7. Institute of Local Government and Public Administration Bill.
  8. Whistle-blower Protection Bill.
  9. Family Economic Advancement Programme (Establishment, etc) 2015.
  10. Family Support Trust Fund Act (Repeal) Bill.
  11. Nigerian Industrial Development Bank (Guarantee) Act (Repeal) Bill.
  12. Treasury Management Bill 2015.
  13. Legislative Powers and Privileges Act (Repeal and Re-Enactment) Bill.
  14. Anti-Torture Bill, 2015.
  15. Lobbyist (Registration and Regulation) Bill.
  16. National Hospital for Women and Children, Abuja (Establishment, etc) Act (Amendment) Bill.
  17. Nigerian Prisons Act CAP, P29 LFN 2004 (Repeal and Re-Enactment) Bill 2015 and 46. Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Act 2010 (Amendment) Bill 2015.

In the same vein, the senate, exhibiting some good form in its last days, also passed the Sexual Offences Bill (SB 279) into law.

The bill which had been pending in the Senate since 2013 prescribes a life jail term for sexual offences such as rape, child sex tourism and people who deliberately infect others with HIV/AIDS.

Among others, the bill also prescribes a life jail term for gang rape; 10 years for incest; 10 years or more and a fine of N2million for child pornography. Sexual offences culprits will be jailed for 14 years.




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