After a protracted face-off between the executive and the legislature on Constitution Amendment, it appears a truce has been reached by both parties following the withdrawal of the suits challenging the constitution amendment process.
There are strong indications that President Goodluck Jonathan will this Thursday sign into the 4th Alteration Bill for the amendment of the 1999 Constitution following a resolution of the grey areas between the presidency and the National Assembly.
Counsel to the Federal Government announced to the Supreme Court that the disagreement between the two parties had been amicably resolved and terms of agreement had been filed at the court.
The deal consequently forced the FG to discontinue the two cases filed by the Attorney General of the Federation and the one filed by Jonathan.
The new deal was ratified by a full panel of the Supreme Court headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria CJN, Justice Mohammed Mahmud.
Ojo said: “For the agreement to be reached both parties made concessions.
“A new suit filed in the name of the president is to be withdrawn along with the old one filed by the AGF. I thank My Lords for your patience and understanding.”
In a short ruling the CJN said: “Both parties having taken the opportunity offered them by the supreme court to settle the matter, having resolved their disputes amicably and having filed notices of discontinuance, both cases are hereby struck out.”
Responding, counsel to NASS Adegboyega Awomolo SAN said: “It is correct we have resolved our differences through concessions from both sides.”
He thanked the justices for their maturity in the matter adding that the judicial mediation worked very well for both parties.
Out of the seven major issues reportedly objected to by the federal government, four were said to have been resolved in its favour, while three reportedly went in favour of the National Assembly.
The withdrawal of the suit is said to be one of the resolved issues.
Both parties, also agreed that the provisions on Free Basic Education and Maternal Health Care Services should be expunged since other laws had provided for what they were meant to achieve.
It was one of the amendments challenged by the executive arm.
The issue of spending before the passage of budget is said to have gone the way of the National Assembly, among others.
The resolution of the controversy over the split the offices of the Accountant General of the Federation and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, was said to be evenly split between the two warring factions.
While the federal government reportedly got one office to remain organic, the other was conceded to the lawmakers for a split.
It will be recalled that the apex court had on Monday advised the two parties to settle the constitutional dispute amicably within 48hours.
Jonathan rejected certain contentious amendments and returned the bill.
It was however gathered that both sides however conceded to each other in the new deal.
Delivering it’s ruling, the apex court unanimously struck out the suit in pursuant to the settlement agreement presented by the partied and the notice of discontinuance filed by the plaintiff counsel.
The court hinged the striking out on Order 50, rule 3 of the Supreme Court.
Counsel to both parties however thanked the court for the advice on out-of-court settlement.
Meanwhile, the Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) has filed a suit at the Federal High Court in Abuja against the National Assembly seeking to nullify all the amendments of the 1999 Constitution.
The group said the required procedures were not followed in the course of the amendments.
The National Assembly has to date adopted three constitutional amendments, namely the First, Second, and Third Alteration Acts. The Fourth alteration Bill was enmeshed in legal tussle between the Presidency and the National Assembly.
In the suit filed yesterday by LEDAP against the Clerk of the National Assembly, the NGO is claiming that the procedure for alteration or amendment of the Constitution under Sections 8 and 9 of the Constitution were not followed in the exercise of alterations of the Constitution.
Meanwhile, President Jonathan yesterday signed the Tobacco Control Bill, 2015, and five other bills passed by the National Assembly into law.
Presidential spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, also confirmed the signing of the bills on his Facebook page, listed other bills signed into law as the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency Act, 2015; Equipment and Leasing Bill, 2015; AMCON (Amendment) Bill, 2015; Standards Organisation of Nigeria Bill, 2015; and the National Sugar Development (Amendment) Bill, 2015.
The Tobacco Control Act 2015 repeals the Tobacco Smoking (Control) Act, CAP.T6, LFN, 2004, enacted in 1990 and amended years later.
The bill is designed to ensure effective regulation and control of production, manufacture, sale, labelling, advertising, promotion and sponsorship, and consumption of tobacco and tobacco products in Nigeria.
It is aimed at domesticating the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)
It is equally designed to ensure balance between economic consideration and health implications of tobacco manufacture, use and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, among other things.
The Tobacco Control Act, will among others, establish the National Tobacco Control Committee.
• Will come into force six months from the date of assent.
• Will make it mandatory for every packet of tobacco for sale in Nigeria to carry the statement “Sales Allowed Only in Nigeria”.
• Every tobacco product manufactured in Nigeria for export must bear “Manufactured in Nigeria for Export”.
• Every packet of cigarette must bear: Name and license number of the manufacturer/wholesaler/importer/exporter; serial number, date, location and country of manufacture; and clearly visible “tax” stamp or marking.
• It prohibits the sale of cigarette to persons under 18.
• It prohibits the sale of tobacco products through vending machines.
• Prohibits the sale of cigarette in single sticks.
• Every cigarette pack must contain minimum of 20 sticks.
• No mail delivery of cigarette to consumers.
• Stipulates warning labels/health messages to cover at least 50 per cent of the principal display areas.
On the Equipment Leasing Act, it is meant to regulate the business of equipment leasing in Nigeria.
It also proposes to bring sanity and certainty to the practice of leasing in Nigeria as well as protect the lessees (users) and the lessors (owners).
Source: This Day