Nigerian govt approves 3 new constitution, electoral act amendment bills to strengthen INEC’s Independence

Nigerian govt approves 3 new constitution, electoral act amendment bills to strengthen INEC’s Independence
September 12 22:28 2018

By Ahmed Idris

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved three bills – Constitution Alteration Bill 2018, Electoral Act amendment Bill 2018 and Electoral Offences Commission Bill 2018 – to strengthen electoral process in the country.

Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, who disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the weekly FEC meeting in Abuja, said the draft bills would soon be forwarded to the National Assembly for passage into law.

He said the bills, when passed into law by the lawmakers, would ensure that the independence of nation’s electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is not be subjected to the directives or control of any authority.

Also speaking, Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr. Muhammad Musa Bello, said the council also agreed to set up of an Inter-Ministerial Committee to investigate tremors that hit some parts of the FCT.

He said members of the committee would be drawn from the Ministry of FCT, Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and Ministry of Power, Works and Housing.

“From our discussion it’s realized that there is tremendous amount of local capacity in various government agencies where we have experts who would be able to study this.

“Accordingly, Council has decided to set up a small ministerial committee with membership from the Ministry of Science and Technology because one or two of their agencies have had expertise with respect to this kind of phenomenon, and then the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing ; Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and of course the FCT.

“I want to use this opportunity to reassure that there is no course for concern and as a matter of fact within the vicinity of the Mpape area the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing would send in their experts to just do some structural assessment of the properties around there,” he said.

Also speaking, Minister of Budget and National Planning, Mr. Udoma Udo Udoma, said the council was briefed on the current state of the nation’s economy.

He said the non-oil sector of the economy grew by 2.05 per cent in the second quarters, stressing council expressed concern over agriculture and crude oil productions.

“But what is encouraging to council is that non-oil has continued to grow. The non-oil sector grew by 2.05 percent and we are very encouraged by this. In fact this is consistent with the economic recovery and growth plan objectives.

“However, council was a bit concerned about agriculture as well as crude oil and so we intend to intensify efforts in agriculture which has been affected by some of the insecurities in some parts of the country and some of the clashes which are now been contained.

“So, we expect agriculture to pick up again. We expect agriculture to go back to the three per cent which we have been experiencing before. Then in terms of crude oil production, we are going to intensify work to get oil production back to over two million barrels a day,” he said.