The House of Representatives on Thursday resolved to draw up a list of bills the National Assembly passed but which have not been signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The move is preparatory to a possible override of the President’s veto on such bills.
The Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, specifically directed the Chairman, House Committee on Rules/Business, Mr. Orker Jev, to compile the bills and forward it to the floor for members to look at them and decide whether to override Buhari’s veto on them.
The decision followed a point of order raised by the Chairman, House Committee on Public Petitions, Mr. Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, who complained that several bills passed and forwarded to Buhari were neither signed into law nor returned to the National Assembly.
Nkem-Abonta, a Peoples Democratic Party member from Abia State, recalled that some of the bills dated back to 2017.
He argued that this was contrary to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the House and Senate rules, which provided that there “shall” be communication from the President to the National Assembly on such bills within 30 days of their passage.
Nkem-Abonta noted that the President was expected to either sign a bill or communicate the withholding of his assent within 30 days.
He added that where the President withholds his assent, the National Assembly still reserved the power to accept his reasons for withholding assent or proceed to override his veto.
Nkem-Abonta sought that the provisions of Section 58 of the Constitution should be invoked in respect of the bills.
Section 58 (1-5) read, “(1) The power of the National Assembly to make laws shall be exercised by bills passed by both the Senate and the House of Representatives and, except as otherwise provided, by Subsection (5) of this section, assented to by the President.
“(2) A bill may originate in either the Senate or the House of Representatives and shall not become law unless it has been passed and, except as otherwise provided by this section and Section 59 of this Constitution, assented to in accordance with the provisions of this section.
“(3) Where a bill has been passed by the House in which it originated, it shall be sent to the other House, and it shall be presented to the President for assent when it has been passed by that other House and agreement has been reached between the two Houses on any amendment made on it.
“(4) Where a bill is presented to the President for assent, he shall within thirty days thereof signify that he assents or that he withholds assent.
“(5) Where the President withholds his assent and the bill is again passed by each House by two-thirds majority, the bill shall become law and the assent of the President shall not be required.”
The House sustained Nkem-Abonta’s point of order.
However, Dogara intervened to say that Buhari has always communicated his decisions on bills to the National Assembly, with reasons, where necessary, why he would not sign them.