83 Bills that seek to further reform Nigeria’s Laws and Statutes are ready to be introduced in the House of Representatives and will be passed before December, Speaker of the House, Hon Yakubu Dogara, has disclosed.
He also added that the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Bill, which he sponsored and which has been passed by the House, will create additional fields of legal practice for the teeming lawyers in Nigeria to practice, thereby creating more employment opportunities.
The Speaker, who made these known when he received the executive members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Abuja Branch, in his office, also called for advocacy to ensure that the Bill scales through at the Senate.
“I sponsored the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Bill, which has been passed by the House of Representatives. We are waiting for the concurrence of the Senate. If that Bill becomes law, it is going to open a wide area of legal practice. It is a fantastic area itself and you will do well in advocating for it and to help us push it at the level of the Senate to ensure that it is passed. Then, we will have experts in Competition Law. It is an area that will not only improve our economy, deliver efficiencies in terms of dynamic efficiency, innovative efficiency and allocative efficiency in our economy, but it will give us, as lawyers, additional tools of legal practice and I tell you there will be no field of legal practice that will be better than that.”
On the updating of the nation’s laws, he added, “Just last week I received a notice from the committee that they have about 83 Bills ready and we will introduce them in one single day and by the grace of God we will pass them and I believe that by the time we do this, you will cease to see punishment in pound sterlings, our laws will be up to date and all those antiquated laws would have been cleaned. That will improve the practice that we do in the court.”
Stressing on the implication of the proposed amendments, Dogara explained that democracy is only as good as its laws, which is why the leadership of the House constituted a committee led by eminent jurists to update the statutes and laws to bring them to present realities and ultimately, strengthen democracy.
“Everything depends on the foundation of law. If a democracy is going to be healthy, that means your laws have to be healthy.
We had run into a situation in this country whereby the laws we inherited from 1800, if you do Sources of Nigerian Law, you will be very conversant with them. At the end, most of the day, most of these laws that we produced were reproduced over time, they have been in existence of parliament over the years, but unfortunately amendments were not made to most of those laws to bring them to present realities.
We ran into a situation whereby some punishment meted in our laws were in pounds sterlings, fines were in pound sterlings and in some of the laws, even cities in the United Kingdom were mentioned .
So when we came on board, we decided we had to put an end to that cycle and we constituted a committee led by eminent jurors, Professor Okonkwo of Criminal Law is part of the team and some senior advocates of Nigeria to clean the entire statutes of our laws and bring them up to address existing realities.”
He urged them to be vigilant to protect democracy by ensuring that rights of the people are protected.
Earlier, chairman of the NBA, Abuja Branch, Barr. Ezenwa Anumnu, commended the House under the leadership of the Speaker, for its contribution to human capacity development and expressed the willingness of the Bar to partner with the legislature to provide more of pro-people legislations.