Senator Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan

The Senate will fast-track the passage of bills passed in the eight Senate but not signed by President Muhammadu Buhari, Senate President Ahmad Lawan has said .

Many of these bills have been reintroduced in the ninth Senate.

Mr Lawan, on Tuesday, directed the majority and minority leaders alongside the Chairman of Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Sadiq Umar, to make a list of such bills.

Some of the bills rejected by the president are Petroleum Industry Governance bill, electoral amendment bill, digital rights bill, Peace Corps bill, and Ajaokuta Steel Company bill.

Mr Lawan’s comment was sequel to the second reading of a bill seeking to establish a Federal Health Sciences institution in Otukpo, Benue State.

Although reintroduced by Benue senator, Abba Moro, the bill was sponsored by David Mark in the eight Senate and was passed on July 6, 2018. It was neither assented to nor rejected by the president.

After the second reading of the bill, Mr Lawan recalled that he had commended Mr Mark on the bill in the previous assembly.

“If there is anything we can do to show appreciation of service is to not waste time in passing the bill. This is one bill that deserves all our support,” he said.

He proposed that such bills skip public hearing stage after second reading.

“A lot of the preparatory work has been done, we did not need to spend time to pass the bill. I am happy that Mr President has already approved the establishment of the institution but I think that this is one bill that deserves all our support.

“Going forward… those bills that we processed almost through all the states, one we should fast-track them by skipping public hearing that will cost us time and resources that can be avoided, given the level of work we have done on them.

“So we need to look at those that were successfully passed by the National Assembly but were not assented to and review the observations and objections which were the grounds on which they were not assented to and take them back for Presidential assent without going through again public hearing and all these things. But on new bills we can do that.

“I think this is the way to go. Senate Leader, you need to take care of this. You and the Minority Leader and the Senate Committee Chairman on Business and Rules, you go through and give the various stages of the bills processes in the Eighth Senate but were not assented to.”

The Senate President’s suggestion comes about a week after Kano senator, Barau Jubril, made a similar suggestion.

The lawmaker had said it was stressful to go through the whole process of bill passage all over again when considering bills that had been deliberated in the last Senate.

He also called for a review of the Senate’s standing rules to be able to hasten the passage of such bills.

By doing so, the Senate will have to amend its rules to allow this suggestion. And if adopted, bill reintroduced will just go through first, second and third readings – and be passed.

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