Posted by; Samuel Ogidan
Abuja – All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senators on Tuesday agreed to put national issues above politics and stop the infighting.
This agreement was brokered on Tuesday, when the Senate dissolved into closed doors session shortly after the lawmakers resumed plenary.
The closed door meeting which lasted for 20 minutes, it was gathered, was used to address salient issues especially recent political disturbances in the Senate among the lawmakers.
A lawmaker, who spoke with INDEPENDENT on the outcome of the closed door meeting, disclosed that issues of threats and counter threats were dropped.
Recall that the APC senators and the National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, have been threatening to impeach Saraki and his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu on the excuse that the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) cannot head the National Assembly, where APC has the majority lawmakers.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the lawmaker said, “the Senate today (Tuesday) reconvened after about two months recess and immediately went into close session where all members had frank discussions about the future of the Eighth Senate as it goes into its last stage.
“The members agreed to give peace a chance and avoid allowing the Red Chamber of the Federal Legislature to degenerate into an arena of conflict over partisan and personal issues.”
It was equally learnt that the APC Caucus also extracted a promise from the Senate President that national interest will continue to take precedent over any other consideration in the activities of the Senate.
The Senators were said to have agreed not to allow external forces and influence to cause disaffection, disturbance or crisis within the legislature.
Meanwhile, the upper chamber of the National Assembly has expressed concern over rejection of bills by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Senate expressed this concern when the National Assembly resumed plenary session after 10 weeks holiday.
President of the Senate, Saraki, who presided over the plenary that lasted for about 30 minutes, read out the 15 bills passed by the National Assembly, but rejected by President Buhari.
The bills, which the President declined assent include; the electoral (amendment) bill, the advance free fraud and other related offences (amendment) bill and the Nigerian maritime administration and safety agency (amendment) bill.
Others include, the stamp duties (amendment) bill, Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), industrial development (income tax relief) (amendment) bill, the National Institute of hospital and tourism (establishment) bill among others.
In the case of the electoral bill, President Buhari said, “my reasons for withholding assent to the Bill are due to some drafting issues that may affect the interpretation and application of the principal act. In addition, some of the proposed amendments may adversely affect the operation of elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
“I am declining assent to the Electoral Amendment Bill due to some drafting issues that remain unaddressed following the prior revision to the Bill. I invite the distinguished Senate to address these issues as quickly as possible so that I may grant President assent to the Electoral Amendment Bill.”
Giving reason to why he declined assent to the advance fee fraud and other related offences (amendment) bill, President Buhari said, “I am declining presidential assent to this Bill which would reduce the minimum punishment for the offences under the Advance Free Fraud and other Related Offences Act due to the prevalence of the offences, the need to deter the offences and the need to adequately punish offenders.
“I am also concerned that the amendment to the Principal Act have watered down the sentence by giving the court too much discretion in respect of the minimum sentence.”