The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved that three bills on electoral reforms as the 2019 elections draw nearer.
They are the Constitution Alteration BIll, (2018); Electoral Act amendment BIll (2018); Electoral Offences Commission BIll (2018).
The Attorney-General Of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, who briefed State House Correspondents at the end of the meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, at the presidential village, Abuja, said they will now be forwarded to the National Assembly for quick passage into law.
He said the President is committed to strengthening the electoral process in the country, which explains his setting up of the Ken Nnamani Electoral Reforms Committee.
The Minister said the committee’s report, the need to have permanent institutions to drive the reforms, among others, gave rise to the bills.
According to him, the present administration hopes to entrench accountability in the conduct of the elections and political parties affairs; ensure speedy resolution of pre-election matters and election disputes; impose stiffer penalties on electoral offenders; as well as enhance the independence of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) such that it is not subject to the directives or control of any authority.
Also speaking on the state of the economy, after the meeting, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, said government is worried about dwindling performance and revenues from of the oil and agriculture sectors even though the economy grew by 1.5 per cent in the second quarter.
He said, “The economy grew by 1.5 per cent in the second quarter but what is encouraging to council is that non-oil has continued to grow.
“The non-oil sector grew by 2.05 per cent and we are very encouraged by this. In fact, this is consistent with the economic recovery and growth plan objectives.
“However council was a bit concerned about agriculture as well as crude oil and so we intend to intensify efforts in agriculture which have been affected by some of the insecurities in some parts of the country and some of the clashes which are now been contained.
“So we expect agriculture to pick up again. We expect agriculture to go back to the three per cent which we have been experiencing before. Then in terms of crude oil production, we are going to intensify work to get oil production back to over 2 million barrels a day.”
On his part, the Minister of FCT, Mohammed Bello, said the council approved the setting up of a committee to investigate last week’s tremor in the Mpape, Jabi, Gwarinpa and other parts of Maitama District area of Abuja in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), with a view to ascertaining what triggered it.
He affirmed the suspension of all blasting activities in and around the areas affected by the earth tremor saying that it will remain until the committee set up on the matter comprising of scientists and geologists from the ministries of science and technology, power, works and housing, mines and solid minerals and FCT, submit full and comprehensive report of their findings.