NASS holds public hearing on electoral bill December 9 – ORDER PAPER

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OrderPaperToday – The National Assembly will hold a public hearing of a bill seeking to amend the electoral act on December 9.

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Kabiru Gaya, made this known to journalists on Thursday after the screening exercise for the former national chairman of the electoral body, Mahmud Yakubu.

This decision for a swift public hearing is in response to ongoing clamour for reform of the electoral law.

In September, a coalition of civil society groups demanded the immediate passage of the Electoral Amendment Bill at the federal parliament when federal lawmakers resumed sitting from their nine weeks recess.

Recall that in the 8th Assembly, attempts to get the electoral act amended failed on four occasions due to several rejections from President Muhammadu Buhari.

At the screening, Mahmud equally canvassed for passage of the bill, which he noted, will help the commission create necessary guidelines for future elections.

He said: “I really would want to see a situation where the electoral amendment bill is expeditiously considered and passed. I am confident that this is going to be done. The earlier that is done, the better for us.

“There’s no way we can conduct elections in an atmosphere of uncertainty. The electoral legal framework must be finalised for us to now develop our regulations and guidelines for the elections.”

Responding, Gaya gave an update of the bill referred to his committee.

“We are even going ahead of that time. On the 9th of December, we are doing public hearing and it will be joint with the House and the Senate so that we can fast-track this electoral act.

“A lot of Nigerians need this electoral act because there were some problems in the last elections and once the electoral act is amended, it will give us a more transparent election”, he said.

Asked why the committee did not query the nominee over allegations of bribery raised over his nomination for a second term, the committee chairman said: “From all these investigations, it is a lie. Nothing came into the National Assembly as bribe. Why should we then raise an issue for something that doesn’t exist? I know that the Senate has taken legal action against the reporter that reported it.”

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