Lawmakers push for passage of Lobbyist Bill, say it will strengthen democracy

Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 12 October 2016 | 1,642 times

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The Senate has opened debate on a Bill for an Act for the regulation and registration of lobbyists in Nigeria; and has referred the Bill to its Committee on Legal Matters for further legislative input.

The debate was led by Senator Dino Melaye, who represents Kogi West Senatorial District. Melaye who also sponsored the Bill, submitted that lobbying takes place at every stage of government including the Federal, State and Local level. He added that it is an international practice and that it was about time to recognised the Bill so as to improve the work of members of the National Assembly.

"This Bill will help to shape public policy by better regulating activities of the lobbyist as it is done in the civilised world," Melaye added.

Speaking also on the Bill, Senate Majority Leader, Ali Ndume, advised that the bill will, in no small amount, improve the quality of legislative governance, adding that it was rejected in the 5th and 6th Senate but should be allowed to go to the Committee Stage.

In his contribution, Senator Ben Murray Bruce, Bayelsa East, admitted that the Bill has some practical solutions to some of the nation’s problems if considered, and that it is even cheaper for democracy.

Speaking on the role which the bill could play in fighting insurgency, Bruce averred that "it can achieve so much without carrying guns and without killing people. It is cheaper to lobby people about the North-East crises than to fight insurgency. It is also cheaper to lobby people about the Niger Delta environmental issues than to repair pipelines."

•Photo shows Senator Dino Melaye.

Source: News Express

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