From Joe Effiong, Uyo
Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has set up a committee to liaise with the state executive to hasten the signing into law of bills passed by the House.
The House of Assembly has proposed a total of 52 bills in the past three years but with only 19 passed into law through executive assent
The Chairman, House Committee on Information, Mr Aniefiok Dennis, who disclosed this while speaking at Correspondents Chapel on the activities of the 7th Assembly of the State, said the committee would work with the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice to ensure that the bills, many of which had completed the necessary cycles in the House, would receive executive assent.
Some of the bills which have suffered a lack of executive assent are the bill to convert the state school of health technology into the College of Health Technology, and the bill against rape and all forms of gender-based violence, which would attract life jail for offenders.
Akpan, who said the Assembly concentrates on making laws that are beneficial to the people, stated that the members were interested in ensuring that the bills were assented to by Governor Udom Emmanuel.
He stated that the idea was to make sure the bills passed don’t get rejected by the governor because of their shortcomings.
‘In terms of law-making at various stages, we have sponsored about 52 bills, some of them have passed 3rd reading and some of them have been assented to.
‘We move not just motions, but people-oriented motions that have to do with the people. Like the desk management bill that was assented to, we don’t want a situation whereby the Executive will on their own have control, we want the public to have a say, the CLO will have a say, amongst others.
‘Public procurement bill was also passed into law. Now, there must be bidding, not just one person coming to take a job, there must be local content as far as the law is concerned.
‘If there is a job that can be appropriately handled by our people, there is no need to bring someone from outside to do it.
‘The violence against persons law has been assented to by His Excellency. Unfortunately, during the lockdown, we had a lot of rape-related issues, gender issues concerning the girl child and women generally.
‘The law used to be violence against women but it is now violence against persons because women attack men and men attack women. That is one law in terms of the definition of rape that has been expanded,’ he stated.
Akpan reiterated that the Assembly was committed to a legislative agenda that is focused on the people, adding that the House has been repelling or amending obsolete laws to make them align with current realities.
He stated that despite the COVID-19 pandemic and strike by legislative workers which hindered their work, members have empowered their constituencies in different ways.
He mentioned that the Assembly was instrumental to the resolution of the strike embarked upon by the Joint Action Committee in the Akwa Ibom State University.
He stated that the strike was called off within 48 hours of the intervention of the Assembly, adding that academic activities have resumed in the two campuses of the university.