The 9th National Assembly would strive to introduce legislative interventions that would see to sectoral reforms and the review of obsolete laws in the 1999 constitution, Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege has said.
The Senator, who made this disclosure at the 2019 Law Week of the Nigerian Bar Association, Abuja Branch, said those obsolete laws that have been in place since the nation’s independence would be amended in such a way that they would impact possitively on the economy and the lives of Nigerians.
According to a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy President of the Senate, Ezrel Tabiowo, the set objectives can be achieved when all three arms of government work in harmony with mutual respect for the autonomy of each arm.
Omo-Agege, who was represented at the event by his Deputy Chief of Staff, Mr. Alex Onwuadiamu, said adopting this approach would optimally guarantee improved performance by both chambers of the National Assembly, as well as ensure effective oversight of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government.
He said: “The National Assembly would symbiotically strengthen their separate and joint capacities to discharge their constitutional duties as one independent arm of government (Legislature) working in harmony with the Executive and Judicial arms of the Federal Government for their common good. “It is essential to establish a non-partisan bi-camera mechanism towards achieving a more harmonious, productive, and transparent National Assembly.
“This would promote good measurement and coordination of the performance of each Chamber’s legislative, representation and oversight duties, and issuance of objective periodic performance measurement and coordination reports to guide the leadership of both Chambers.”
Omo-Agege further disclosed that the legislative interventions by the 9th National Assembly would look at critical areas such as Elections; Education; Security; Financial and Related Services; Oil and Gas; Manufacturing and Industry; Agricultural and Related Businesses; Science, Communications, Technology (ICT); and News Media and Related Businesses.
Others areas to be looked into are Transportation; Solid Minerals; Tourism and Entertainment Businesses; Health; Power and Energy; Public Infrastructure, Property, Construction and Housing; Youths, Children, Women and Sports; Maritime Businesses; the Judiciary; Civil Societies, Charities, and NGOs; Public Enterprises and Service Delivery; the Federal Capital Territory; Labour and Workers; Traditional Institutions, Inter-ethnic and Inter-religious Harmony; and Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs and Diplomatic Engagements.
Earlier, Prof. Paul Idornigie, in his Presentation titled ‘Setting the agenda for the 9th Assembly’, said that Nigerian laws show that the country has not departed from the original sources of laws, especially Received English laws since the attainment of independence in October 1960. According to him, “some bills have acquired the status of ‘landlords’ and ‘orphans’ in the National Assembly since 2002.”
Speaking on the Petroleum Industry Bill as an example, Idornigie said, “the clamour for regulatory attributes in the oil and gas sector is a realization of the critical position of the sector in our economy.” He therefore called for the unbundling of the sector, “to separate regulation from operation.”
On reform bills, Prof. Idornigie called on the National Assembly to pay attention to the transport sector. “The National Integrated Infrastructure Masterplan, 2015 assumes $166 billion total investment in infrastructure, out of which 26 percent is expected in transportation with the private sector contributing 48 percent.
“We believe that if the reform and other transport infrastructure bills are passed and assented to, the economy will be open to private sector participation,” he said.
On his part, Prof. Taiwo Osipitan, in a paper titled ‘Nigerian Laws: A Case for Extensive Amendments’, made a case for legislative intervention in situations where decisions of the Supreme Court are in conflict. According to him, in other jurisdictions such as India and the United States of America, the decisions of the Supreme Court are subject to amendment by the legislature.
Taiwo, while examining some aspects of the Nigerian law in dire need of urgent amendments identified provisions of the constitution to include State Police, Local Government Financial Autonomy as well as composition of the Nigerian Judicial Council.