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•••Says AGF does not have a full understanding of how bills are passed


The Senate on Tuesday passed the bill seeking to change the current National anthem, “Arise O Compatriots ” to the old national anthem “Nigeria, we Hail thee” even as the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio kicked against the Attorney General and minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi’s request for wider consultation on the bill.

Akpabio said the AGF is not a lawmaker and does not have a full understanding of how bills are passed.

The bill was read for the third time and passed after the consideration of the report of its Committees on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, and Federal Character and Intergovernmental Affairs on Tuesday, the Senate passed the bill entitled, “National Anthem Bill, 2024” for third reading.

On Monday, the Attorney General of the federation and minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi and the constitutional lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekome had warned the federal lawmakers against the use of legislative fiat to reverse to the old national anthem without Nigerians “buying into it”

The bill was read for the first and second time last week Thursday at the Senate. It also received an accelerated hearing at the lower house as it was read for the first, second and third time.

It will be transmitted to President Bola Tinubu today for assent.

If signed into law, it will be the first time Nigeria’s national anthem will be given legal backing.

Mongonu Tahir, the Senator representing Borno North, while presenting the report of the Committee during plenary informed that the Bill seeks to give a legal framework to the national anthem “so that it can bite and bite with all the legal powers embedded in it.”

He clarified that the Bill, despite the concerns raised by the AGF does not need to be subjected to a wider process of citizen participation through zonal public hearings, resolutions of the Federal Executive Council, Council of State, National and State Assemblies, etc.

He insisted that the Bill is an ordinary Bill, not a constitutional amendment and only requires it to be read first, second and third time after a public hearing.

Presenting the committees report, Monguno however said that the new national anthem is apt as it represents the country’s people, culture, values and aspirations.

“The bill is in tandem with the spirit of unity. It will undoubtedly inspire a zeal for patriotism and cooperation. It will promote cultural heritage. Changing the national anthem will chart a path to greater unity”, Tahir said.

He then recommended that the bill be passed.

The Senate later resolved to the committee of the whole to consider the report. After which, Godswill Akpabio, the Senate President put the bill to a voice vote and lawmakers supported it.



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