Senate throws out Frivolous Petitions Bill

Nigeria Senate

Nigeria Senate

The Senate yesterday threw out the Frivolous Petitions (Prohibition) Bill 2015 and suspended all further consideration of the proposed law.

It was learnt that the Senate accepted the recommendations of the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters.

The committee, in its report, said that although the bill was innovative and laudable, its passage in its current form would hinder the anti-corruption war, which is a focal point of the current administration.

Chairman of the Committee, Senator David Umaru (APC, Niger East) said that most of the provisions of the Bill had already been covered by other extant laws of the federation and could not be duplicated.

Umaru said, “Some of our extant Acts, such as the Penal Code, the Criminal Code, the Cybercrime Act, have sufficient provisions to address the issues that the Frivolous Petitions (Prohibition) Bill 2015, seeks to address.

“Even though the Bill has a tacit implication of discouraging frivolous and malicious petitions, its passage into law in this current form, will do more harm than good.

“This Bill will conflict with some provisions in some of our extant laws, which make provisions for whistle blowers protection. Passing this bill will expose them to more dangers and threats to life.

“What we need to do now as legislators is to amend and update some of our extant Acts to accommodate emerging global trends rather than having a new Iaw.”

According to him, other findings by the committee, which informed its recommendation, include that the bill will make life difficult for Nigerians who live far away from High Courts.

He stressed that other forms of communication such as text messages, tweets, WhatsApp, which the Bill seeks to police were already being regulated by the Nigerian Communication Act of 2003, stressing that the purpose of the Bill was closely related to the offence of defamation which is also already covered by law.

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