As the 9th National Assembly winds down, Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) on Tuesday warned the Senate and House of Representatives to refrain from passing bills into law, that are not well debated, reasoned or elegantly drafted.
The PLAC Executive Director, Dr Clement Nwankwo gave the charge in Abuja, via a statement made available to Tribune Online.
“PLAC is concerned that in the week of winding down of the 9th National Assembly, both chambers are passing into law, bills that may not have been well publicised, undergone public hearing or opened to public scrutiny.
“Of particular concern to PLAC, is the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) Act Amendment bill, which is currently before the House of Representatives ostensibly for concurrence, after a version of the bill that seeks to weaken the Commission’s powers was passed in the Senate without a public hearing.
“The ICPC Act Amendment bill also seeks to whittle down the powers of the Chairman of the Commission to issue Standing Orders and make administrative rules for the effectiveness of the ICPC.
“PLAC is concerned that in the last days of the National Assembly and just a few days to the completion of its constitutionally prescribed date of dissolution, bills that may fall below legislative standards are being considered for passage under the legislative practice of ‘concurrence.’
“PLAC recognises that there are several outstanding bills that the 9th National Assembly should have taken seriously and passed before winding down.
“This includes the Electoral Offences Commission bill, which has undergone rigorous legislative processes and scrutiny in both the Senate and House of Representatives, but which the 9th National Assembly still failed to pass.
“PLAC is calling on the two chambers of the National Assembly to immediately refrain from further passage or concurrence to bills in these last days of legislative sitting and instead, concentrate on their valedictory activities and ceremonies marking the dissolution of the 9th National Assembly.
“As the 10th National Assembly sets to be inaugurated in the coming days, PLAC calls on incoming legislators to put on the front burner, the passage of the Electoral Offences Commission bill.
“PLAC will work in collaboration with the National Assembly and other civil society groups to identify priority bills for early passage by the incoming 10th National Assembly,” he assured.
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