President Muhammadu Buhari has declined assent to four bills passed and sent to by the National Assembly for his approval.
The president in separate letters read on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday in pursuant of his right under Section 58(4) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) declined presidential assent on;
The Courts and Tribunals (Standard Scale of Fines) Bill 2017, the National Child Protection and Enforcement Agency (NCPEA) Bill 2018, the Corporate Manslaughter Bill 2018 and the Agriculture Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (Amendment) Bill 2018.
Giving reasons for declining assent on the bills, Buhari said all the proposed duties and responsibilities of the proposed the National Child Protection and Enforcement Agency (‘NCPEA’) Bill of 2018 are currently the statutory responsibilities of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs;
and that the creation of the NCPEA may lead to the duplication of mandates of Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (‘MDAs‘), which would result in the wastage of scarce financial and other resources.
On the Courts and Tribunals Standard Scale of Fines Bill of 2017 the President o noted that: the proposed standard scale of fines appears to be ambiguous, as it does not clearly state the manner by which any given offence will fall under a particular level on the scale and that the proposed scale of fines may conflict with existing penalties and fines under extant laws, which already impose penalties and fines for various offences which may result in confusion.
President Buhari rejected the Corporate Manslaughter Bill 2018 on the ground that the provision of Section 1(5) of the Bill appears to be inconsistent with Section 36(5) of the 1999 Constitution, which enshrines the presumption of innocence until the alleged offender us convicted by a court or tribunal of competent jurisdiction.
He said further that it may be useful for the Bill to cover instances of career-ending and life a threatening injuries (and not just wrongful death). He demanded that the Bill should clearly specify the penalties to be imposed for the offences created by the Bill.
Finally, Buhari said he is ready to assent the Agriculture Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund Bill once the drafting is rectified.
He rejected the Bill due to the fact that the increase in the fund size to N50 billion, which is a principal basis of the Bill will not be effective as currently drafted because the introductory language in Section 5(1) of the principal Act which set out the size of the fund retains the original fund size of N100 million.