The House of Representatives on Thursday at plenary passed through second reading a Bill to establish a single board to provide policy direction, appoint, promote and exercise disciplinary control over officers of the paramilitary services; the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Federal Fire Service, Nigeria Correctional Service and Nigeria Immigration Service.
The executive Bill, transmitted to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari two weeks ago, seeks to repeal the Immigration and Prisons Services Board Act, Cap. 12, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and Enact the Civil Defence Corps, Correctional, Federal Fire and Immigration Services Board Act.
Majority Leader of the House, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa who led debate on the bill,solicited the support of other lawmakers to passage of the proposed legislation.
According to clause 12 of the bill, the board may, with the approval of the Minister, make staff regulations for the Civil Defence Corps, Correctional, Federal Fire and Immigration Services (“the Corps and Services”), relating generally to the conditions of service.
It also provides for the appointment, promotion and disciplinary control, including dismissal; salaries, allowances and fringe benefits, appeals by staff against dismissal or other disciplinary measures; and such other matters, as may be considered necessary for the staff of the Corps and Services and for the efficient performance of the functions of the Board under this Act.
Clause 12(2) further stipulates that: “Any regulations made under subsection (1) of this section may not be published in the Federal Gazette but the Board shall cause them to be brought to the notice of all affected persons in such manner as it may from time to time determine.”
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Clause 16 of the bill provides that: “The Board may, with the approval of the President, borrow by way of loan, overdraft or otherwise from any source such sums as it may require for the performance of its functions and meeting its obligations under this Act in line with financial regulations and appropriation by the National Assembly.
Under Part IV of the bill, Clause 22 provides that: “The Minister may make regulations or issue guidelines as may be necessary or expedient to give effect to the provisions of this Act,” while Clause 23 provides that: “The Minister may give to the Board such directives of a general nature on matters of policy with regard to the exercise of its functions under this Act and the Board shall comply with the directives.”
Clause 24 also provides that: “Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law, a suit shall not be instituted in any court against the Board, a member of the Board, Secretary or any other officer or staff of the Board for any act done or omission in the execution of this Act or any other law, or of any public duty or authority, unless it is commenced – within three months after the act, neglect or default complained of; or in the case of a continuation of damage or injury, within three months after the ceasing of the damage or injury.
Clause 24(2) further provides that: “A suit shall not commence against the Board, a member of the Board, Secretary or any other officer or staff of the Board before the expiration of a period of thirty days after written notice of the intention to commence the suit shall have been served on the Board by the intending plaintiff or their agent.”