Osinbajo Vetoes Four NASS Bills

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ACTING President Yemi Osinbajo has vetoed four bills passed by the National Assembly and transmitted to the president for assent.

The voted bills are Dangerous Drug Amendment Bill 2016; National Lottery Bill 2016 and Agricultural Guaranteed Credit Scheme Bill 2016.

Bukola Saraki, Senate president, disclosed the development at the Senate plenary on Wednesday, February 22, while reading separate letters from Osinbajo conveying his decision to assent to each of the bills.

Osinbajo said in his letters that he was withholding assent because of the wording and spirit of the bills.

Specifically regarding the lottery bill, the acting president’s concern was about pending litigation and the power of the National Assembly to legislate on the subject.

Dino Melaye, a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and senator representing Kogi West, protested Osinbajo’s presidential veto, arguing that, following the principle of separation of powers, the Presidency had the duty of assenting to bills passed by the National Assembly or approach the judiciary for redress.

However, Saraki said the matter would be referred to the legal department of the National Assembly for advice.

Nigeria’s Constitution grants the president the power to withhold assent to a bill within thirty days of receipt.

But upon presidential veto as exercised by Osinbajo, section 58(5) provides that such bill automatically becomes law if it is passed again by two-thirds majority of each of the chambers.

It is not the first time a veto would be exercised. Last year, President Muhammadu Buhari similarly refused to assent to the initial version of the 2016 Appropriation Bill passed by the National Assembly.

Even before Buhari, former President Goodluck Jonathan had at the twilight of his tenure in 2015 refused to assent to the Constitution Amendment Bill 2015 passed by the National Assembly, pointing to some anomalies.

In any case, in the last few days, Osinbajo had signed seven bills into law.

—  Feb 22, 2017 @ 16:20 GMT

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