Fred Itua, Abuja
The Senate, yesterday, reconsidered and passed seven bills earlier vetoed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
In series of letters, President Buhari raised concerns over the efficacy of the bills if passed into law. In the letters, he had called on the National Assembly to consider the issues raised and do the needful.
The Senate also rejected a bill for an Act to phase out petrol vehicles in the country by 2035 and introduce electric cars.
The vetoed bills are Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism Bill, National Research and Innovation Council Bill, and Stamp Duties Act (Amendment) Bill.
Others are National Agricultural Seed Council Bill, Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (Amendment) Bill and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Act 2010 (Amendment) Bill.
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, urged the National Assembly secretariat to take note of observations and corrections made by lawmakers.
The senate, had on Tuesday, included in its Order Paper, two bills earmarked for override. But no explanation was offered by the Senate leader, Ahmad Lawan on why it was not considered.The two bills slated for override, but not considered are Fourth Alteration Bill No. 28, and the Industrial Development (Income Tax Relief) Amendment Bill.
The Fourth Alteration No. 28 Bill is a constitution amendment, which seeks to provide for the time within which the President or Governor shall lay the Appropriation Bill before the National or State Assembly.
The Bill also seeks to encourage early presentation and passage of Appropriation Bills.
President Buhari had declined assent to the Bill on the ground that it did not take cognisance of the provisions of Section 58(4) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
On the other hand, Industrial Development Amendment Bill, if passed, will enable companies that expand their operations in pioneer industry or product to apply for a new pioneer status.
President Buhari declined assent to the Bill on the grounds that ongoing inter-ministerial consultations would be affected if the Bill is signed into law.
However, the rejection of the bill to phase out petrol vehicles in the country by 2035 and introduce electric cars, followed observations by lawmakers on the impossibility of mandating Nigerians to stop the use of petrol vehicles.
Following the rejection, the sponsor of the bill, Ben Murray-Bruce Bruce, withdrew the document.
He, however, raised a Point of Order, saying, that posterity would judge him right for the need to embrace electric vehicles, adding that in no distant time, combustible vehicles would be phased out.
According to the lawmaker, the earlier Nigeria buys into the change, the better.
Presenting the bill before its rejection, Murray-Bruce said electric vehicles would help solve the problem of ozone layer depletion. He also said the use of electric vehicles would be health friendly among other things.
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, congratulated Murray-Bruce for the bill but said there was no need for a law to be passed for Nigerians to switch from use of petrol vehicles to electric vehicles.
He said going down history, people moved from the use of animals as sole means of transportation to use of bicycles, motor bikes, cars and other advanced means of transportation.
He said provisions of the 1999 Constitution, which provide for freedom of movement sufficed.
Barau Jibrin agreed that while electric vehicles would be more friendly to the environment and health, making its use mandatory was not feasible.
In his remarks, Saraki emphasised the need to move to other items on the day’s Order Paper since Murray-Bruce had withdrawn the bill.
He also said the Point of Order raised by Murray-Bruce before withdrawing the bill was noted.