Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele The Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, has said that some bills are contributing to the misunderstanding of the ninth National Assembly by Nigerians.
He also said some of his colleagues are against the publication of their salaries and allowances because of national security.
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Many have called for it to be slashed. Within the last one year, some of the private member bills sponsored by the federal lawmakers for consideration and possible passage have been stirring controversy in the polity as regards their desirability or otherwise.
Some of the controversial bills are, the Anti-Social Media bill, hate speech bill, a bill seeking to establish an agency for repentant Boko Haram insurgents, a bill for an act to prohibit/ban the use of generators and the infectious disease bill.
Speaking in an interview with newsmen weekend in Abuja, Senator Bamidele (APC, Ekiti Central), said the bills were wrongly perceived by Nigerians regardless of the sponsors’ intention.
He said, “We have had some bills in the last one year that also didn’t help our popularity, regardless of the fact that the distinguished senators who sponsored the bills meant so well.
“Unfortunately, a lot of people are yet to understand the workings of the parliament. When a private member bill is read for the first time, it doesn’t matter how bad it is, you cannot hold the Senate responsible.
“We have other 108 members who will assess the bill, and part of the process of the legislation is that the bill itself, after the senators would have debated the general principle during second reading, will be subjected to public scrutiny. You could have a situation where the preponderance of opinion would have even killed the bill and that will be the end.
“But a lot of time, the parliament is assessed based on the kind or nature of bills that are read for the first time and then people bring it down with comments and insinuations on social media. They, however, mean well.”
He said he had been pushing for the publication of lawmakers’ salaries and allowances for the public to know, but some members had expressed reservations for reason of national security.