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Orosanye Report:Senate tells FG not to scrap National Film Board

Senate extends implementation of 2023 budgets to December 31

The Senate has urged the Federal Government not to scrap the National Film and Video Census Board (NFVCB), noting that the process violates the rule of law.

This resolution was reached following a debate on the motion, “Urgent need to halt violation of the NFVCB sponsored by Ogoshi Mohammed, the senator representing Nasarawa South on Tuesday.

Lawmakers expressed concern over a directive from George Akume, the secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), instructing Hannatu Musawa, minister of arts, culture, and the creative economy, to begin the immediate dissolution of the NFVCB. The directive aimed to integrate the NFVCB as a department within the ministry, bypassing the legal process required to repeal the law establishing the agency.

Read also: See full list of agencies, commissions, parastatals to be scrapped, merged, relocated, subsumed

President Bola Tinubu, in February, directed the implementation of the Oronsaye report which revealed that there were 541 statutory and non-statutory federal parastatals, commissions and agencies. The 800-page report recommended that 263 of the statutory agencies be slashed to 161; 38 agencies be scrapped; 52 be merged and 14 be reverted to departments in various ministries.

In his lead debate, Mohammed, who sponsored the motion, said the SGF directive violates the National Film and Video Censors Board Act Cap No. 40 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 (as amended.

He frowned that the ministry has already been instructed to complete the administrative and financial process to wind down the NFVCB within three weeks with effect from 21st June 2024 and report back to the SGFs office within the first month after it becomes a department of the ministry.

According to him, the process of winding down an agency of government which came into force through an Act of Parliament should first commence with the repeal of the Act establishing the said agency.

“The Oronsaye report is a committee report that should not override an Act of Parliament”, he said.

“This issue of abuse of the law, if goes unchecked would become a bad precedence going forward, there is a need to check this illegality by insisting that the right procedure for winding down a statutory agency be followed”, he stressed.

The motion was supported by Solomon Olamilakan, who insisted that the rule of law must be adhered to and that the president must formally notify lawmakers to repeal relevant laws, “So that on our part we can repeal all those laws. The law cannot be in existence if the agencies are scrapped. The needful must be done in repealing those laws.”

Sani Musa, the senator representing Niger East, agreed that laws establishing affected agencies must be repealed. But, Adams Oshiomhole, the senator representing Edo North argued that the National Assembly must not hinder the implementation of the report aimed at cutting the overloaded cost of governance.

“The president can forward a repeal bill later”, he opined.

Godswill Akpabio, the Senate president said the winding down of the NFVCB would have been an infringement on the act of Parliament. He added, however, that the National Assembly was not aware of the implementation of the report.

“If the president wishes to implement the Orosanya report, due process must be followed. This means all the acts of Parliament in existence must be brought before the parliament for further consideration.”

Akpabio emphasised that the president can only proceed with implementation when the parliament agrees. “You can only begin to implement when the parliament is in agreement with you”, he said.