President Buhari declines assent to five Bills 

Edwin Akwueh, Abuja


President Muhammadu Buhari has declined assents to five more bills out of the many passed and transmitted to him by the National Assembly.

The President, in separate letters dated March 19, 2019 and addressed to the President of the senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, stated his reasons for rejecting the bills.

The Bills are the Nigerian Film Commission, 2018; Climate Change Bill, 2018; Immigration (Amendment) Bill, 2018; Chartered Institute of Pension Practitioners of Nigeria Bill, 2018 and the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill, 2018 respectively.

According to the President, as stated in the letter read by Dr. Saraki during Wednesday’s plenary, he declined assent to the Nigerian Film Commission Bill because Sections 1(3)(d)&(e) of the bill conflicts Section 2(a)(I), (ii) and (c) of the National Film and Censors Board Act which confers functions in relation to film exhibition on the board, among others.

On the Climate Change Bill, Buhari said one of the reasons for assent refusal is that the spelt-out scope and guiding principles in the bill replicate the functions of the Federal Ministry of Environment, which is charged with the mainstreaming climate responses and actions into government policy, but does not suggest the scrapping of the ministry.

President Buhari explained that he was declining assent to the Immigration (Amendment) Bill due to concerns expressed about the retroactive effective of the provisions of Section 38(5) of the bill and impact of the section on Ease of Doing Business Initiative of the federal government as contained in the Executive Order One.

He added that there are also concerns that if passed into law, the bill would be disruptive to Nigerians in Diaspora if other countries were to reciprocate the provisions of Section 38(5) in their immigration laws.

On the Chartered Institute of Pension Practitioners of Nigeria Bill, the President said he refused assent to it because the objectives of the institute created by the Bill are similar to the objectives of the Certified Pension Institute of Nigeria which is already in existence and functional, and would amount to duplication of the functions of a separately constituted institute.

The President stated that he declined assent to the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill since it seeks to cover too many technical subjects in one text and in the process fails to address any of them to exhaustively.

He listed the areas to include surveillance and data protection, lawful interception of communications, data protection and retention, among others which are currently the subject of various bills pending in the National Assembly.