Senate approves immunity clause for lawmakers, forecloses second term ambition for VP, Deputy Governors

Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 26 July 2017 | 2,446 times

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•The Senate during plenary.

The Nigerian Senate has approved immunity for members of the National Assembly and foreclosed a second term for a vice president or deputy governor who succeeds his boss in the event that the latter dies in office.

It also extended veto powers of the legislature with regard to presidential assent to bills, including the 28 amendments passed on Wednesday.

If the amendments eventually sail through, members of the legislature will enjoy immunity in respect of words spoken or written at plenary sessions or at committee proceedings for which they cannot be held liable.

A part of this amendment bill which was supported by senators during plenary on Wednesday is that the bureaucracy of the legislature will be institutionalised in the Constitution like the Civil Service Commission and the Judicial Service Commission for the executive and judiciary respectively.

In another significant amendment, the Senate has restricted persons sworn in as president or governor to complete the term of the elected president from contesting for the same office for more than a term. This particular amendment speaks to the scenario where ex-president Goodluck Jonathan completed the term of his late boss, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, and proceeded to seek a double term in office.

Another amendment passed by the Senate is that which enables the legislature to pass bills into law even without the assent of the President. This particular amendment passed with a ‘Yes’ votes of 95.

Other similar bills also passed by the senate includes the power of the National assembly to override presidential veto in the case of amendment of the constitution as was the case with the 7th assembly when Jonathan declined to assent to the trove of amendments passed; and removal of the law-making power of the executive arm of government which passed with a ‘Yes’ vote of 89 senators.

In a similar vein, the Senate stipulated a 30 day time frame in the constitution for president to submit names and portfolios of ministers and same for commissioners at the state level while another amendment provides for the appointment of a minister from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) into the Executive Council of the Federation.

Another key amendment passed by the Senate is the provision for a time within which the President shall lay the annual appropriation bill before the national Assembly or House of Assembly in the case of a governor to encourage early presentation and passage of the budget.

Senate also obligated the president to attend a joint meeting of the National Assembly once a year to deliver a state of the nation address; an amendment which passed with a ‘Yes’ vote of 93 senators. 

 


Source: News Express

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