President Muhammadu Buhari has rejected four bills passed into Acts of Parliament by the National Assembly relating security, justice administration reform and agricultural development.
Accordingly, the President withheld assent to the Corporate Manslaughter Act of 2018 which tend to check mass killings in the country. President Buhari rejecting the Corporate Manslaughter Bill of 2018, argued: “This provision appears to be inconsistent with Section 36(5) of the 1999 Constitution, which enshrines the presumption of innocence until the alleged offender is convicted by a court or tribunal of competent jurisdiction.”
The President also declined assent to three other acts which include the Courts and Tribunals (Standard Scale of Fines) Bill of 2017; National Child Protection and Enforcement Agency, NCPEA Bill of 2018 and Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (Amendment) Bill of 2018.
National Daily gathered that the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, red President Buhari’s letter indicating his rejection of the acts to the Senate during plenary.
President Buhari, in the letter, explained that he rejected the National Child Protection and Enforcement Agency (NCPEA) (ESTABLSHMENT) BILL, 2018, because: “The rationale for declining assent includes all the proposed duties and responsibilities of the proposed agency are currently the statutory responsibilities of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs.”
Making excuse for rejection of the Courts and Tribunals (Standard Scale of Fines) Bill of 2017, President Buhari argued: “Specifically, you may wish to note 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.”
On Corporate Manslaughter Bill of 2018, the President contended: “This provision appears to be inconsistent with Section 36(5) of the 1999 Constitution, which enshrines the presumption of innocence until the alleged offender is convicted by a court or tribunal of competent jurisdiction.”
Several stakeholders had argued that the Corporate Manslaughter Bill of 2018 would have aided the containment of mass killings across the country by Fulani herdsmen, insinuating that the President’s decline of assent on the bill reflect a purported covert resolve to shield the killer herdsmen.
On the Agriculture Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2018, President Buhari explained: “My decision to decline Presidential Assent to the Bill is 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.”
Meanwhile, the National Assembly would have to review the decision and make a resolution whether to proceed or discontinue legislative proceedings on the rejected bills.