Ahmad Lawan, the Senate President, on Wednesday, March 31, criticised the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari over the rejection of some National Assembly bills.
Lawan made this disclosure at a public hearing organised in Abuja by the Senate Committee on Health to deliberate on three bills.
The proposed bills are:
• The National University of Health and Medical Sciences, Suleja, Niger State (Establishment) Bill 2021, sponsored by Senator Sani Musa.
• The Federal University of Medical Sciences Abeokuta, Ogun State (Establishment) Bill 2021, sponsored by Senator Ibikunle Amosun.
• The bill for an Act to amend the Orthopedic Hospital Management Board Act No. 21 of 1979 to provide for the establishment of the Federal Orthopedic Hospital, Kuta (Niger State), Bill 2021, also sponsored by Senator Musa.
During the session, Lawan bemoaned the absence of the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, and the Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunmibe Mamora, or any representatives.
Lawan explained that the development was responsible for situations where bills passed by the National Assembly were denied assent by Buhari, adding that the President sometimes acted on wrong advice from ministry officials.
The Senate President said, “I have a written speech for this event, but before then, where is the Minister of Health or Minister of State Health? Or is there anyone representing the Ministry of Health?
“This is an anomaly and we don’t take it kindly because sometimes, the National Assembly will process a bill and the bill will be taken to Mr. President for assent and somebody will just go round and mis-advise that the bill should not be assented to.
“This is done mostly by ministry officials. So, it is always in the interest of government and good governance that when there is a public hearing – the ministry, government officials, the technical people – should be around to hear the views of the people.
“If they have any objection, they should say so in the presence of everyone, so that they listen to arguments.
“Therefore, it is sad that neither the minister, nor the minister of state, or anyone from the Federal Ministry of Health is here to attend this particular public hearing and I think it is sad. And nothing should happen to our bills.”