One can safely and boldly assert that no elected Nigerian President has signed into law as many landmark reform parliamentary Bills as President Muhammadu Buhari has so far done.

Feel free to disagree of course, but keep it respectful.

The landmark Bills assented to by the President include the following:

  • The Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) assented to by the President on Monday August 16, 2021. The PIB – designed to transform the oil and gas operations and investment landscape in the country – was first mooted almost two decades ago, and has suffered several false starts and aborted legislative processes over several years, appearing at some point to actually be jinxed. Now it has finally seen the light of day. It will improve clarity and transparency of the industry’s regulatory and fiscal frameworks, attract new investment, as well as significantly benefit communities playing host to oil and gas installations.
  • The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) Act,2019 which happens to be the first piece of legislation in Nigeria’s history focused on curbing anti-competition practices (in addition to strengthening the legal framework for consumer protection). That Act also established the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, to replace the Consumer Protection Council (CPC).
  • The Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) Establishment Act, 2018. Prior to that time (2018), the NCDC did not have enabling legislation, which limited its ability to function optimally. A huge part of the success of the NCDC’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic can be traced to the fact that by the time the pandemic emerged the NCDC had an Act of Parliament backing and empowering it, “fully legal mandate”, in the Center’s words.
  • The Act establishing the Police Trust Fund, which will significantly improve funding for the Nigeria Police Force (2019). For the first time, Nigeria has a dedicated Fund, with clearly spelt out financing mechanisms, to support Policing, and act as complementary legislation to the new Nigeria Police Act, 2020.
  • The Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2018.The first such national-level legislative provision for the needs and requirements of persons living with disability in Nigeria, and to drive the government’s agenda for inclusion. This new legislation led to the establishment of a National Commission for Persons With Disabilities (NCPWD) in 2020.
  • The Nigerian Correctional Service Act, 2019 – like the new Police Act, this was the first comprehensive reform of prison legislation — in almost five decades (The hitherto existing Prisons Act dated back to 1972). This new Act created the Nigerian Correctional Service, to replace the old Nigerian Prisons Service, and to bring the “prison” system in line with a foundation already laid out by the Administration of Criminal Justice Act of 2015. The new Act embodies a new focus on non-custodial and restorative measures and interventions, like community service, parole and probation, and seeks to put an end to prison congestion while also ensuring greater regard for the human rights of inmates of the service.
  • The Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Bill, 2019 – the first omnibus, dedicated anti-piracy legislation in West Africa and the Gulf of Guinea. Already the first sets of convictions under this new Act have been secured, in August 2020 and July 2021 respectively.

  • Finance Act 2019 and 2020: Another unprecedented intervention in the history of Nigeria – this decision to accompany every Appropriation Bill, starting with the 2020 Appropriation Bill, with a Finance Act that focuses on specific reforms and changes aimed at supporting the implementation of the Budget while also improving the business environment and updating obsolete provisions of existing (relevant) pieces of legislation.

— Tolu Ogunlesi, August 2021


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