Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), Acting President has explained why he was withholding ascent to the National Lottery Bill, Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund, Currency Conversion (freezing order) Bill and Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Bill.
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo
Osinbajo, in a letter dated February 7, said the reason he withheld assent to National Lottery bill was as a result of the existence of pending legal challenges to the competence of the National Assembly to legislate on the subject matter.
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However, Senator Dino Melaye, who sponsored the bill, kicked against the explanation of the Acting President.
Melaye quoted copiously from the 1999 Constitution to drive home his claim that the Acting President and indeed the executive do not have the powers to reject bills passed by the National Assembly.
“The role of the executive is to carry out their traditional role by signing any bill passed by the National Assembly,” he said.
Melaye said the action of the Acting President, if allowed to stand, portends grave danger to democracy in the country and undermines the powers of the parliament.
But the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, prevailed on Melaye to allow the legal department of National Assembly look into the matter before knowing what to do.
On Dangerous Drugs Bill 2016, Osinbajo said: “The rationale for withholding assent to the bill are the concerns regarding certain words and phrases utilised in the draft bill that may be inconsistent with the principal Act (for example section 6 of the bill with Section 21 of the principal Act) and the spirit behind the proposed amendments.”
On the Agriculture Credit Guarantee Scheme, he said: “The reasons for withholding assent the bill are the concerns surrounding board composition, funding arrangement, limitation of liability of funds, and proposals to increase levels uncollateralised loans from N5,000 to N250,000.”
On withholding assent to the currency conversion bill, Osinbajo said: “The rationale for withholding assent to the bill is the concern regarding modalities for the communication of asset forfeiture orders.”