In order to ensure virile and operational laws for the country, the Senate on Thursday, May 18, 2017 via a Motion entitled “Amendment of seventeen (17) items on the North-East Development Commission (establishment, etc.) Bill, 2017”, sponsored by the Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan; reconsidered the above withdrawn Bill earlier passed into law by the Apex Legislature and transmitted to the President for assent on the 12th January, 2017. The legislation was withdrawn on 7th February, 2017 as a result of observed issues on Constitutional prescriptions.
Consequently, the Upper Legislative Chamber invoked Order 1 (b) of the Senate Standing Orders 2015 which referred the amendment of the identified 17 items to the Committee of the Whole where the Bill was reconsidered and amended. This is due to the fact that there is no defined procedure on the reconsideration of Bills passed by the National Assembly, transmitted to the President for assent and later withdrawn.
Accordingly, Order 1 (b) of the Senate Standing Orders 2015 as amended states that “In all cases not provided for hereinafter or by Session or Order practice of the Senate, the Senate shall by resolution regulate its procedure. As such, the Chamber resolved into the Committee of the Whole to effect amendment in the explanatory memorandum, arrangement of sections – Part iv (S: 13 & S20), long title, sections 2, 5, 7, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 25 and 26 of the Bill as recommended or amended. Thereafter, the Bill was passed into law again.
Meanwhile, the Red Chamber has also considered and adopted the Conference Committee Report on the “Electronic Transaction Bill, 2017 (S.B. 15)”. The Report was presented before the Chamber for adoption by Sen. Buhari Abdulfatai (Oyo North) and was adopted and approved without debate. It would be recalled that the Bill was passed into law by both Chambers of the National Assembly but with differences which were harmonized and needed to be approved by both Chambers independently.
Also, the Senate has asked the newly nominated Director General (DG), National Lottery Commission who prior to his confirmation had assumed office to vacate the office and not to be seen within the vicinity of the Commission until due process is strictly adhered to on the issue of his appointment. The suspension of the DG was sequel to an earlier point of order raised by Sen. Dino Melaye in which he informed the Chamber that the nominated DG had assumed office without recourse to Senate confirmation. The decision of the Chamber was based on the outcome of the assigned investigation conducted by the Senate Majority Leader, Ahmad Lawan on the matter which confirmed the violation of due process in his report.
Similarly, Sen. Tijani Yahaya came under point of order 43 to draw the attention of the Red Chamber on a report by the Nigerian media alleging that recruitment into the Federal Civil Service is currently going on without adherence to due process by the Federal Civil Service Commission. Consequently, the Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service through it Chairman has promised to investigate the matter and report back to the Chamber for necessary action.