- Adjourns plenary till September 15
By Ikechukwu Okaforad
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said that nobody is above the scrutiny of the National Assembly, vowing that the parliament will scrutinize both high and mighty in the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Lawan stated this in his closing remarks moments before the Upper Chamber adjourned plenary till September 15, 2020.
Speaking on the gains of a harmonious working relationship between the Legislature and the Executive arm of Government, the Senate President advised appointees of the President against needless confrontation with the Committees of the National Assembly.
According to him, engagements with Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government by the Committees of the National Assembly are carried out to serve public interest and in accordance with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
“As for what has been happening recently, let me take this opportunity to advice that it takes both arms of Government to work together in a cordial and harmonious way.
“We are desirous of working together with the executive arm, and we expect that the Executive arm would be desirous of working with us. We want to work in harmony.
“Nobody should feel that he is above the scrutiny of the National Assembly. The function of the National Assembly is enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Therefore, it is important that whoever takes public office also understands that there has to be this type of engagement on behalf of the Nigerian public,” Lawan said.
The Senate President urged the relevant Committees on Petroleum (Upstream and Downstream); and Gas to engage the Executive arm of Government, particularly the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to be submitted to the National Assembly.
He added that such engagement between both arms of government would reduce the time needed to carry out legislative work on the bill when it is finally sent to the Legislature for consideration and passage.
“I urge that our oil and gas committees continue to engage with the Executive arm of Government, particularly the NNPC, DPR, and all the Petroleum related agencies and work with them as if the bill has been presented to us, so that we reduce the time that we need to spend considering the bill when it is finally presented to us.
“It is our hope and desire that we are able to break the jinx that has visited the PIB since 2007.
“The PIB has defied passage and assent, this time around we want to work assiduously with the Executive arm of Government to ensure that we pass the PIB and that the President signs it into law, because we have everything to lose if not passed this year.
“If we are able to do it, we will get more revenue into the coffers of the Federal Government, as well as attract and retain investments into the oil and gas sector in Nigeria,” the Senate President said.
Meanwhile, the Senate during Wednesday’s plenary passed three bills.
They are: Police Act (Repeal and are-enactment) Bill, 2020; Banks and other Financial Institutions Act (Amendment) Bill, 2020; and the Nigerian Railway Corporation Act (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill, 2020.
The Police Re-enactment Bill was passed following the consideration of the Conference Committee Report of the National Assembly Committee on Police Affairs.
Similarly, the Banks and other Financial Institutions Bill; and the Nigerian Railway Corporation Bill were both passed after a clause-by-clause consideration of the reports of the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions; and Committee on Land Transport.