By Henry Umoru & Josephine Agbonkhese
ABUJA—THE Senate, yesterday warned critics to stop misinterpreting its laws.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja at a one day public hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters on three separate bills, Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki said it was unfortunate that such critics were never present at such legislative forum for the needed cross fertilisation of ideas.
Saraki, who was represented by Senate’s Deputy Leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah (APC Kebbi South), said the Senate had no particular position on the bills (Legal Practioners Act (Amendment ) Bill 2018, Data Protection Bill and Facial Mutilation Prohibition Bill.)
The Senate President said, “No particular position has been taken in respect of these bills, the reason why relevant stake holders in their areas of focus were invited but unfortunately ardent critics of laws made by us are not here to make their inputs. These critics are no doubt, roadside Appeal and Supreme Courts misinterpreting our laws and by extension , turning the decision of the National Assembly upside down as being experienced with one of the bills recently passed and being litigated against . Our appeal to these critics is to stop misinterpreting our laws and make themselves available at the public hearing stages of passing such laws.”
In his remarks, President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN), said the proposed amendments to the Act were very necessary in view of being an archaic Act enacted in 1962, adding, “The move by the Senate to amend the Legal Practitioners Act through an amendment bill is a welcome development because to us, that would help in bringing the needed reforms for the review of regulation of legal profession.”
Meanwhile, amidst ongoing controversy over President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to decline assent to the amended Electoral Act as transmitted by the National Assembly, the Transition Monitoring Group, TMG, has called on all actors in the political space to tread with caution by adhering to due process.
According to the Chairperson, TMG, Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, who regretted that the controversy trailing the amendment process was driven more by narrow political calculations, “the best interest of the Nigerian voter, not political brinkmanship, should determine the outcome of the amendment process.”