By Ignatius Okorocha
There are strong indications that the National Assembly may override President Muhammadu Buhari on his veto to the Bill on the establishment of the Peace Corps of Nigeria.
Some National Assembly members told The AUTHORITY that they have held series of meetings on the matter and would go ahead to override the President if current pleas by Nigerians to revisit the bill were ignored by the Presidency.
It was gathered that the move to override Buhari on the passage of the bill was initiated by some members of the House of Representatives.
A reliable source in the House confirmed on Wednesday that there were plans by the Lower Chamber to override Buhari on the Peace Corps Bill.
According to the source, the lawmakers met on Tuesday night to perfect plans to override the President.
The source disclosed that it was one of the viable ways to providing employment for the countrya��s teeming youths, noting that a�?our people would stampede us out of office if nothing is done to restore their confidence through the passage of the bill into lawa�?. It is also seen as a means to boost security which has not got better even with several security measures put in place.
Both chambers of the National Assembly have passed the Harmonised Bill to establish the Peace Corps of Nigeria after it was subjected to controversies by some law enforcement agencies opposed to the Bill.
The President’s denial of assent to the bill was first condemned by Senator Mao Ohuabunwua (Abia North) who argued that the reasons offered by the President for denying assent to the Bill were not cogent enough to justify its rejection.
The plot to override Buhari’s accent on the bill became more evident on Wednesday during the Senate plenary when Senator Dino Melaye raised a motion anchored on a Point of Order that the Upper House had received a communication from the President on his rejection of assent to the Peace Corps Bill.
Melaye said that since the President communicated to the Senate that he would not sign the bill because of lack of funds to sponsor the agency, in addition to the fact that it would be a duplication of the duties of the civil defence, police, among others, the Senate should take a critical look at the reasons advanced by the President and if not cogent enough, meet with him to impress on him to sign the Bill.
He pointed out that since the President withdrew his assent, thousands of his constituents had called him to express displeasure, adding that they had requested that the Senate should expeditiously override the president.
He appealed to the Senators to invoke the powers conferred on them by their constituents to override Buhari if he failed to reason with the Senate to reverse his decision.
He said the Bill is the only legacy the government can bequeath to the youths, adding that the administration of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in its 16 years in power, borrowed N6 trillion, but the All Progressives Congress (APC), in its less three years in office, had borrowed N11 trillion, yet none of the money is going into empowering the youths.
However, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who presided over the plenary, declined comment on the matter.
He simply called on the Senate Leader to introduce the next item on the agenda of the Senate Order Paper for consideration.
*Senate pushes NFIU Autonomy Bill to Buhari
Meanwhile, the Senate yesterday at plenary considered and adopted the Conference Committee Report on the Bill to Establish the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) as an independent entity.
Nigerian was threatened with expulsion by the 152-member countries of EGMONT Group by March 11 if the Federal Government failed to grant autonomy to the unit.
If the bill is signed into law, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), just like every other agency would subscribe to the NFIU for financial intelligence, without necessarily having any form of control over the Unit.
The consideration and adoption of the 38 clauses contained in the document was sequel to the presentation of the Conference Report by Chairman, Senate, Committee on Anti-corruption, Senator Chukwuka Utazi.
Seconding the report, Senator Foster Ogola (Bayelsa West), said there was no point further debating the report since the two chambers had agreed on the items contained in it.
Putting the debate to voice vote, the ayes had it, and Saraki expressed optimism that President Buhari would promptly assent to it.
By Ignatius Okorocha