*Says governors frustrating efforts of state legislatures in private bills’ assent
By Joseph Erunke
SPEAKER of Borno State House of Assembly,Hon. Abdulkarim Lawan, has explained that state assemblies don’t override governors’ vetoes on bills because legislators don’t want fight with state governors.
He, however,expressed frustration over inability of state governors to assent to private bills passed by the legislature, asking stakeholders to begin to engage the state chief executives for change of attitudes to that effect.
The legislator spoke, in Abuja,at a retreat for members of Borno State House of Assembly on Violence Against Persons Prohibition,VAPP,bill in Abuja,organised by a civil society organisation, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre,WARDC and funded by the United Nations and the Embassy of Netherlands.
He promised that the Borno House of Assembly would critically debate the bill and ensure its quick passage even as he appealed to stakeholders to prevail on governors to assent to the bill when passed by lawmakers.
Hear him: “When you pass a private bill such as this, governors would not likely give assent to the bill. This is the complaint we always receive from our colleagues in other states.
“For instance, the current assembly in Borno has passed about 25 bills, 20 are executive bills while five are private bills. But, only the 20 executive bills have been assented by the governor even as he promised to assent to the remaining five. We also have problems vetoing bills in order to avoid fracas with the executives.”
Earlier,in her remarks,Executive Director of WARDC, Dr. Abiola Akiyode Afolabi, lamented the growing violence against women, children and men, regretting that in spite of the development,many states had not taken steps to embrace the VAPP bill.
Dr Afolabi,who noted that the rising cases of violence against women in the country was largely caused by lack of commitment from governors to tackle the menace,regretted that governors were frustrating the fight against gender-based violence in the country.
Recall that the VAPP bill which was passed into law in 2015 prohibits all form of gender-based violence including genital mutilation, forceful ejection from home and harmful widowhood practices.
She lamented that, the bill which has been passed into law by only 18 states was not effectively implemented, adding that lack of awareness on the part of lawmakers in state assemblies was also responsible for the low priority given to the bill.
“Though we noticed positive changes in some states where the law have been passed like Ekiti and Lagos But in most states, like Ogun, Oyo, Bauchi, it is still just law, the implementation level is still very low.
” Some state assemblies debated this bill and found it worthy by passing it. It is now the duty of the executive to activate the law but from what we are seeing, it is the executive that are slowing down the implementation of the law which also might be as a result of funding. At the state level, budget for women and children are always the lowest, and if you passed a law like this, you need to increase their budget to make the law effective. The bulk Therefore is on the table of the executive”,she said.