Stages of Passing a Bill Into Law in Nigeria
In this article, we will extensively explain the process of passing a bill into law in Nigeria. If you have been stuffing the internet to know how laws are made in Nigeria, this is the right post for you to read. We enjoin you to read painstakingly as we will carefully explain every stage.
Sadly, most Nigerians don’t know how laws are made in the country. Most believe the president is responsible for all the harsh, local and federal laws in Nigeria
Well, knowing fully well that many citizens don’t really know the process of law-making in Nigeria, we thought it wise to make a comprehensive article, explaining the different stages in the process of law-making in Nigeria. In other words, we will be teaching you the stages of lawmaking in Nigeria today. But before, going into the crux of this article, we would like to define some terms that will help you understand when we start to explain them.
What is a Bill?
Wikipedia postulates that a bill is proposed legislation under consideration by a legislature. It does not become law until it is passed by the legislature and, in most cases, approved by the executive. Once a bill has been enacted into law, it is called an act of the legislature, or a statute.
In short and simple English, a bill is a proposed law to be discussed in the parliament in order to become law. There are basically two types of bills viz: public bills and private bills.
Public bills may be initiated by a Minister, in which case they are referred to as “government bills”. They may also be initiated by private members; in which case they are called “private Members’ bills”. On the other hand, the purpose of a private bill is to exempt a person or group of persons, including a corporate person, from the application of a statute.
Stages for Passing a Bill into Law in Nigeria
Below are the stages in the process of law-making in Nigeria:
1. First Reading:
At this stage, the draft of the bill is presented to the clerk of the house. It will be printed in a leaflet and circulated to all members. Members of the parliament will be notified about the presence of such a bill by the clerk and the date for second reading will be fixed.
2. Second Reading:
Apparently, this is the second stage in the process of law-making in Nigeria. At this stage, the person that introduced the bill to the house will explain the purpose of the bill to the house. Members will then debate on the bill, whether to be read the second time or not. If voted in favour, the bill will move to the next stage. It should be noted, however, that amendment is not entertained at this stage.
3. Committee Stage:
This is the third and very important stage in the passing of bills into law in Nigeria. Here, the bill is referred to the committee. It can be a committee of the whole house or standing committee depending on the importance of the bill. The amendment is made to the bill at this stage and then, it will be moved to the next stage.
4. Report stage:
The report stage will immediately follow the committee stage. Here, the findings of the committee will be reported to the house after all the amendments have been made. Conversely, the amended form of the bill will be read by the Chairman of the committee on that day.
5. Third reading:
This is the final stage of the bill with the parliament and thorough attention is given to the bill in order to correct all errors with the draft. Now, a final vote is also given to the bill and if the house agrees, it will move to the last stage. This house will also make sure that passing such a bill will not bring about an obnoxious law into the Nigerian legal system.
A duly passed bill by the house will now be sent to the president for his assent. When the president assents to the bill, it will automatically become a law and it will be binding on every citizen of Nigeria.
It should be noted, however, that where the president fails to give his assent within 30 days, the parliament can automatically make that bill a law if it is passed in the same form it was sent to the President by two-thirds majority vote in both Chambers (senate and representatives).