As the Eighth National Assembly winds down its legislative activities today, with a valedictory session scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., records revealed that Senate passed 319 bills within four years.
However, President Muhammadu Buhari vetoed no fewer than 65 of such bills.
Apart from the number of bills, which surpassed those passed by the Fifth to Seventh Senate, the upper chamber of the nation’s legislature also treated 219 public petitions brought before it.
House of Representatives, however, had more hauls in bill passage, clocking 382 bills, 1,588 motions, and 1,192 petitions.
Acting Clerk, House of Representatives, Mr. Patrick Giwa, made this known in a letter informing the federal lawmakers that the Special valedictory session to end the Eight House holds today.
At the session this morning, Senate President Bukola Saraki, who doubles as Chairman of National Assembly, is expected to give his valedictory speech as well as make public some books chronicling his stewardship.
Some of the bills passed by the legislature include Nigerian Railway Bill 2015, Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act CAP B2 LFN 2011 (Repeal and Re-enactment) 2015; National Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment (est, etc.) Bill 2015, Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (est., etc.) Bill 2015; Electronic Transaction Bill 2015; Agriculture Credit Guarantee Scheme Act (Amendment) Bill 2015; Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (Est., etc.) Bill, 2015 and Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Bill 2015.
Others include, North East Development Commission (NEDC) (Est., etc.) Bill 2015; Erosion Control and Prevention Commission (Est., etc.) Bill 2015; Counterfeit and Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods (Miscellaneous provision) Amendment Bill 2015; Federal University of Petroleum Resources Effurun (Est, etc) Bill 2015; Food Security Bill 2015; Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (Establishment, etc) Bill 2015; Environmental Managers Registration Council of Nigeria (Establishment, etc) Bill 2015; Nigeria Institute of Soil Science (Establishment, etc) Bill 2015 and Nigeria Football Federation (Establishment, etc) and others Bill.
In the last six months alone, Senate passed no few than 60 bills, including National Minimum Wage Bill, which pegged the least salary of a worker at N30,000. Forty of such bills were passed within the last three weeks.
However, despite the large number of bills passed by Senate and by extension, House of Representatives, Buhari has in the last four years refused assent to no fewer than 65 bills.
Some of the rejected bills by the president included the controversial National Housing Fund Bill; Ajaokuta Steel Company Completion Fund Bill; Nigerian Aeronautical Search and Rescue Bill; Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency Bill and National Biotechnology Development Agency Bill.
Others are National Institute of Credit Administration Bill; Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria Bill; Chartered Institute of Training and Development of Nigeria (Establishment) Bill and the four versions of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill.
The legislative interventions of the upper chamber of the National Assembly since June, 2015 include, the first-ever National Assembly Joint Public Hearing on the budget, which gave the public, civil society organisations and stakeholders such as labour an opportunity to weigh-in on the 2017 Appropriations Bill.
Senate also intervened in the Abuja Airport closure in 2017, saying the closure would affect businesses operating in the capital and pushed for alternatives to the closure of the Abuja airport.
In September 2016, Senate constituted an eight-man Ad-hoc Committee on North-east to ascertain the total amount of funds released to Presidential Initiative on the North-East and to probe spending by the Federal Government on the humanitarian crisis in the geopolitical zone.
The committee later indicted then Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Babachir Lawal, for allegedly misappropriating about N200 million.
Other legislative interventions by Senate include allocation of N10 billion in March 2016 to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North-east in recognition of the dire situation.
Senate also submitted a 21-point resolution on executive actions that the executive needed to take to shore up investors’ confidence, create jobs, increase revenues and get Nigeria’s economy back on track.
The last legislative intervention of Senate was the N10 billion it added to the N8.916trillion 2019 budget passed last month by National Assembly, to tackle humanitarian crisis in Zamfara State.
This followed a request by Mr Kabiru Marafa (Zamfara Central) in a motion moved to that effect on the floor of the Senate.