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Buhari Writes Senate, Declines Assent To Four Bills

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President Muhammadu Buhari has written the Senate to decline assent to four bills forwarded to him by the legislature.

The four bills are the National Child Protection and Enforcement Agency (‘NCPEA’) Bill 2018, the Courts and Tribunals (Standard Scale of Fines) Bill 2017, the Corporate Manslaughter Bill 2018 and the Agriculture Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2018.

In the letter to the Senate, read by its President, Bukola Saraki, at Tuesday’s plenary, Buhari said: “Pursuant to Section 58 (4) of Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), I hereby convey to the Senate, my decision, on (June 21, 2018) to decline Presidential Assent to the National Child Protection and Enforcement Agency (‘NCPEA’) Bill of 2018 recently passed by the National Assembly.

“The rationale for declining assent includes all the proposed duties and responsibilities of the proposed agency are currently the statutory responsibilities of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs.

“The creation of the NCPEA may lead to the duplication of mandates of Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), which would result in the wastage of scarce financial and other resources.

“Secondly, The courts and Tribunals (Standard Scale of Fines) Bill of 2017. Pursuant to Section 58(4) of Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), I hereby convey to the Senate, my decision, on (June 21, 2018) to decline Presidential Assent to The Courts and Tribunals Standard Scale of Fines Bill of 2017 recently passed by the National Assembly.

“Specifically, you may wish to note that the proposed standard scale of fines appears to be ambiguous, as it does not clearly state the manner by which any given offence will fall under a particular level on the scale.

“The proposed scale of fines may conflict with existing penalties and fines under extant laws which already impose penalties and fines for various offences. This may result in confusion.

“As the Naira’s value is dynamic, a fixed scale of fines may impair the ease of future review of Nigerian laws setting out penalties and fines for offences.”

On the third bill, the Corporate Manslaughter Bill 2018, Buhari wrote: “Specifically, my attention has been drawn to Section 1(5) of this Bill, which imposes a fine upon the mere indictment of a corporate organisation of the criminal offence of corporate manslaughter.

“This provision appears to be inconsistent with Section 36(5) of the 1999 Constitution, which enshrines the presumption of innocence until the alleged offender is convicted by a court or tribunal of competent jurisdiction.

“The Bill should clearly specify the penalties to be imposed for the offences created by the Bill.”

And on the fourth, the Agriculture Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2018, he said: “My decision to decline Presidential Assent to the Bill is due to the fact that the increase in the fund size to N50 billion, which is a principal basis of the Bill, will not be effective as currently drafted.

“This is because the introductory language in Section 5(1) of the principal Act which sets out the size of the fund retains the original fund size of N100 million.

“I am ready to grant Presidential assent to this Bill once this drafting is rectified.”

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