The federal government has approved three proposed executive bills that would be transmitted to the National Assembly to enhance the country’s electoral process.
This was disclosed by the minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami after the federal executive council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential Villa, yesterday.
According to him, the decision was fallout of the report of the Electoral Reforms Committee led by former Senate President Ken Nnamani.
Disclosing that the federal government is proposing the passage of the Electoral Offenses Commission and Tribunal Establishment Bill, added that the other executive bills being proposed are the Constitution Alteration BIll, 2018 and the Electoral Act amendment Bill 2018.
Malami, who said with the passage of these three bills, the Independence of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will be enhanced, added that INEC with the proposed bill will also no longer be subjects to the directives or control of any authority.
He said “the Electoral Reforms committee was formed by the President under the Chairmanship of the former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, to look at the provisions of the Constitution Alteration on Electoral Act Amendment Bill, 2017, with the view to enhance the electoral process.
The committee’s work he said was also “to entrench accountability in the conduct of the elections and political parties affairs and to ensure speedy resolution of pre- ejection matters and election disputes as well as stiffer penalties on electoral offenders.
“Electoral Offences Commission and Tribunal Establishments Bill, 2018, is proposed for submission to the National Assembly.
“Provisions in the constitutions are proposed to enhance the electoral process and regulations political parties.
In his briefing, minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mohammed Bello said the council also set up an inter-ministerial committee to investigate last week’s earth tremour in Abuja.
He listed ministries which make up the committee to include: FCT, Science and Technology, Power, Works and Housing and Steel Development.
He further explained that there is no cause for concern as preliminary investigation showed that the tremor was mild as experts said Nigeria was not prone to earthquake disaster, emphasising that the development cannot result in wild tremor.
He stated “There was a movement called tremor but it was very mild. Preliminary investigations showed that it was mild in Mpape from where it spread to other parts of Abuja. It was very mild. There was no cause for concern.
“Experts informed us that Abuja didn’t fall into geological areas that can lead to tremor. The council set up a ministerial committee consisting of the Ministry of Science and Technology, Power, Works and Housing, Mines and Solid Minerals and FCT to look into the situation.” He said mining activities and blasting of rocks in Mpape had so far been suspended until the conclusion of investigation. The minister also disclosed that preliminary investigation into the development revealed that the tremor was not caused by mining activities and rock blasting in Mpape. On his part, minister of Budget and National Planning said the council expressed concern over the growth of agriculture in the recently released National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report which he blamed on the insecurity in some parts of the country. According to him, the economy grew by 1.5 per cent in the second quarter pointing out that what is encouraging to the council is that the non-oil sector has continued to grow. “The non-oil sector grew by 2.05 per cent and we are very encouraged by this. In fact this is consistent with the economic recovery and growth plan objectives. “However council was a bit concerned about agriculture as well as crude oil and so we intend to intensify efforts in agriculture which has been affected by some of the insecurities in some parts of the country and of the clashes which are now been contained. “So we expect agriculture to pick up again. We expect agriculture to go back to the 3 percent which we have been experiencing before. Then in terms of crude oil production, we are going to intensify work to get oil production back to over 2 million barrels a day,” he stated.
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