Law Underway To Formalise Activities Of Lobbyists In Nigeria

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The Senate yesterday passed for second reading, a Bill for an Act for the Regulation and Registration of Lobbyists in the nation’s National and State Assemblies.

The Bill was consequently referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, for further legislative inputs before its eventual passage into law.

LEADERSHIP recalls that the Bill, which is sponsored by Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi), went through the First Reading on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday, December 8, 2015.

Earlier, leading the debate on the general principles of the Bill, Senator Melaye said the proposed law seeks to make provision for registration and regulation of professional Lobbyists in the Legislature, adding that it also makes a provision for any intending lobbyist to be duly registered under the Company and Allied Matters Act in order to be able to carry out the business and as such register with the Ministry of Justice to practice as a lobbyist in the Senate or House of Representatives or both Houses.

He defined the Bill as an activity in which special interests hire well-connected professional advocates, often lawyers, to argue for specific legislation in the Parliament.

“lt is a highly controversial phenomenon, often seen in a negative light by journalists and the public. Lobbying takes place at every level of government, including Federal, State and Local Governments,” he argued.

Melaye added that the Bill if passed into law will, among others, create stricter registration requirement for Lobbyists; require Lobbyists to disclose how much they make and spend on lobbying; ban Lobbyists from paying for gifts and food as a means of inducement; imposing a time frame before a legislator can become a lobbyist; creating ethics oversight by establishing Ethics Commission and Legislative Ethics Committee.

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