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Reps’ bill mandating presidential address on insecurity, economy, others underway

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…Address to hold every 6 months after passage of annual budget

…Wants NIN compulsory for voters registration

By Levinus Nwabughiogu

The House of  Representatives will soon debate a bill on state of the nation address by Nigeria’s president every six months after the enactment and passage of the Appropriation Bill into law.

The address shall prioritise issues such as national security, the economy, budget performance, foreign policy and social justice, among others.

The address shall be a periodic rendition before a joint session of the two chambers of the National Assembly, the Senate and House of Representatives.

Should the President decline to make such appearance, the bill has also made provision for a two-third majority vote of the National Assembly to compel him to appear for the address.

Obtained exclusively by Vanguard, the bill is being sponsored by Ben Rollands Igbakpa, who represents Ethiope federal constituency of Delta State. Entitled: “State of the Nation Address Bill, 2020,’’ the bill was first introduced to the House last year and is expected to be listed for second reading anytime soon.

READ ALSO: HURIWA tackles Buhari over worsening insecurity

Details of the bill read: “An Act to make provision for State of the Nation address by the President and for other matters, 2020. “Be it enacted by the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as follows: The President shall not later than six months from the date of enactment of the Appropriation Act by the National Assembly, address a joint session of the National Assembly on the State of the Nation

“The President shall address the joint session aforesaid on such issues, including but not limited to national security, the economy, budget performance, foreign policy and social justice.

“Where the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria fails, neglects or refuses to render the State of the Nation address within the time stipulated by Section 1 of this bill, the National Assembly may by resolution supported by 2/3 majority votes of members of the Senate and House of Representatives, summon the President to address the nation, pursuant to the provisions of this bill

“The President’s address shall be debated by the National Assembly and the resolution of the National Assembly shall be communicated to the President within 60 days from the date of such address.”

It will be recalled that on December 1, 2020, the House via a motion on the massacre of over 43 rice farmers in Zarbamari village, Borno State, invited President Muhammadu Buhari to appear before it and address the lawmakers on the state of nation.

But the President failed to appear after Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, had told Nigerians that the President was going to honour the invitation on December 10.

Similarly, the House will also be seeking the amendment of Section 10 of the Electoral Act of 2010 and the alteration of the Section 77 of the 1999 constitution (as amended) to ultimately make the National Identification Number, NIN, a compulsory requirement for voters registration. The bill, which is to be introduced to the House soon, is also sponsored by Ben Rollands Igbakpa.

Speaking exclusively on the synopsis of the bills, Igbakpa said it would eliminate multiple registrations by an individual voter and ultimately end election rigging.

He said: “The bill seeks to give a strong ground for one man, one vote as it will ensure that nobody can register more than once and nobody can register to vote without a verified and authentic NIN.”

Vanguard News Nigeria

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