Center for Human Rights and Accountability Network (CHRAN), has kicked against the proposed amendment of extant laws by using one legislation.
The group said it has appraised the general principles of the bill which seeks to review the laws establishing statutory boards of commissions, agencies, corporations and other bodies established by the laws of the state.
Mr Franklyn Isong, Director, Center for Human Rights and Accountability Network (CHRAN), said this on Tuesday, 19 September 2023, during a public hearing on a bill for a law to make special provisions for statutory boards in Akwa Ibom State and for connected purposes.
This was organized by the House Committee on Inter-Governmental, Political and Special Matters of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.
“The CHRAN has appraised the general principles of this bill which seeks to review the laws establishing statutory boards of commissions, agencies, corporations and other bodies established by the Laws of the state.
“Section 4(1): Tenure of office of members of statutory boards, says, ‘a member of a statutory board other than an ex-officio member shall hold office for a single term of three years beginning from the date of his appointment and no more.
“Section 6: Power of a governor to dissolve a statutory board, says, ‘notwithstanding any provisions to the contrary contained in this law or any other law, the governor may dissolve a statutory board at any time if it appears to him that it is in the interest of the public that such statutory board should be dissolved.’”
Isong described the sections as nebulous and obnoxious provisions which are anti-parliamentary and undemocratic.
He said the CHRAN wishes to state that the 8th Assembly is seeking to use one legislation to amend several existing laws of the state enacted by the parliament, which is strange to parliamentary practices worldwide.
“The group viewed this Bill as anti-Akwa Ibom people and drafted in bad faith by the 8th Assembly. The center is of the opinion that this Bill be stood down by the House of Assembly which prides itself as the people’s Assembly in the overall interests of the Akwa Ibom masses.
“The CHRAN considers this bill as too pedestrian to worth spending taxpayers’ monies to organize a Public Hearing for.
“It notes that it has never been heard in the history of parliamentary practices that a single legislation can amend several other legislations enacted by the same parliament. For the benefit of the doubt, all laws enacted by this Assembly enjoy equal status. None is superior to the other. Hence, this legislation cannot be superior to the individual laws that established the various statutory Boards of Commission, Agencies, Corporations and other bodies found by the Laws of the state.
“The center wishes to advise that this Bill be thrown into the trash can of history. This Bill will subject this 8th House of Assembly to public trials and ridicule,” he said in the statement.
The center wishes to state here that if this monstrous Bill scales through, the center being a pro-democracy organization will be left with no option but to take steps to protect and safeguard our democracy from draconian laws such as this one in the making.