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Senate explains low passage rate of bills

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The Nigerian Senate, on Thursday, addressed concerns regarding the low number of bills passed into law in recent years. The Senate Leader acknowledged that the number of enacted legislations might not be the sole measure of legislative performance.

The Senate said that members in the last one year introduced about 477 bills with 25 of them passed into law.

It said these demonstrated its commitment to legislative activities.

The Senate Leader, Opeyemi Bamidele, stated this in a statement celebrating the first anniversary of the 10th Senate.

Bamidele said, “Since its inauguration on June 13, 2023, the 10th Senate has introduced 477 bills. Of these, 25 have been fully enacted into law, while others are at various stages of the legislative process.

“Despite the seemingly low percentage of fully passed bills —5.24 per cent — the Senate’s focus has also been on addressing other fundamental national priorities as mandated by the Constitution.

“In addition to legislative activities, the Senate has passed 115 resolutions of significant consequence to economic development and national stability.

“These resolutions stemmed from motions of national importance, sponsored by various senators after thorough consideration.”

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He explained that the Senate prioritizes attending to “other issues of highly fundamental national priority” that occupy a significant portion of their time. These “imperatives” are outlined in the Nigerian Constitution.

He said, “Many people may measure our performance based on the number of bills that were fully passed into law.

“Different reasons account for the low number of fully enacted legislations. This can be ascribed mainly to other issues of highly fundamental national priority that occupied the attention of the Senate. Put differently, it is purely due to the imperatives of attending to other obligations as required by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.”

Beyond passing bills, the Senate also plays a role in confirming presidential nominees for various key positions. This includes appointments to the Federal Executive Council, the Central Bank of Nigeria, and leadership roles in the Armed Forces, Police, and other critical agencies.

While the specific “fundamental national priorities” diverting attention from bill passage were not elaborated upon, the explanation suggests the Senate may be focusing on pressing issues with immediate national impact, alongside its role in vetting presidential appointments.

This statement comes amidst public scrutiny regarding the Senate’s legislative output. It remains to be seen if the explanation will satisfy concerns about legislative efficiency and the number of bills passed into law.

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