Lawan Douses Tensions over Petroleum Subsidy Removal, Electoral Act

Akanimo Sampson

Akanimo Sampson

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan has expressed confidence that the National Assembly will this Wednesday re-jig and re-present the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill to President Muhammadu Buhari for his assent this week.

According to him, Nigerians should not fret over the delay having the amended electoral legislation assented to by President Buhari.

Also dousing tensions over the claim that petroleum subsidy has been removal, Lawan assured that there is no Presidential directive to implement such regime as being claimed in some quarters.

He was speaking in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, after a closed-door meeting with President Buhari at the Aso Rock Villa, adding that Nigerians should rest assured President Buhari has not directed anyone to remove the petroleum subsidy.

Explaining that federal legislators are worried about the different agitation and protests around the country, Lawan said his visit was necessitated by the need to let President Buhari know about the feelings and concerns of constituents, including the planned removal of subsidy.

“Well, it will be of interest to Nigerians to hear what I’ve come to discuss with Mr President among several other things. Many of us are very concerned with the recent agitations, protests, and many citizens were so concerned, our constituents across the country are very concerned that the federal government will remove the petroleum subsidy.

“And for us, as parliamentarians, as legislators representing the people of Nigeria, this must be of interest to us. And we’ve just finished our recess we had gone home to our constituencies and senatorial districts. And will feel the pulse of our people”, he said.

Against the backdrop of nationwide protest being planned by the organized labour and civil society groups over the alleged removal of petroleum subsidy, Lawan said; “and I found it necessary to visit Mr President, as the leader of our government and our leader in the country, to discuss this particular issue of concern to Nigerians, and I’m happy to inform Nigerians that Mr President never told anyone that the petroleum subsidy should be removed.”

On the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, the Senate President expressed confidence that the National Assembly will on Wednesday (today) rejig and re-present the document to President Buhari for assent this week.

However, Senator Lawan said if the ‘cleaning process’ takes more than a day to complete, then the document would be represented to President Buhari early next week, adding; “By the grace of God, tomorrow both chambers, the Senate and the House of Representatives, will pass the bill.

“And I hope that by the end of the week, the bill could be brought back to Mr President for his assent. I hope that but one thing I’m sure by the grace of God is we are passing the bill, the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2010, this Wednesday in both chambers, and we are happy that at the end of the day, we have been able to narrow down our differences and arrive at the very patriotic resolution that our country must have a new electoral law that will guide the 2023 general elections in the country, and Nigeria would have everything to benefit from this law.”

According to him; “For us in the 9th Assembly, the Electoral Act Amendment Bill is one of the primary legislative agenda that we wanted to deal with in the 9th National Assembly, and to the glory of God Almighty Allah by tomorrow (Wednesday), we will be able to pass that bill for Mr President to consent to it.

“I hope that the cleaning process will not take more than a day. But if it does, then it has to be early next week. But I’m very optimistic that there is not much to clean up because normally when we pass a bill like this, it goes to the legislative drafting unit of the National Assembly.”

In the meantime, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has directed all its State councils to mobilize members for a one-day nationwide protest in the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) against the planned subsidy removal on petroleum and the imposed tax on soft drinks deregulation on January 27, 2022.

NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, announced that Labour will be embarking on the ‘mother of all protests’ being planned to hold in Abuja in February.

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