The Senate, on Wednesday, passed the Witness Protection and Management Bill, 2022.
The passage of the bill was sequel to the consideration of a report by the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters.
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, in his presentation, said the bill was read for the first time on February 23, 2021, and a second time on January 25, 2022.
According to the lawmaker, the bill seeks to provide for the legal and institutional framework for the protection of witnesses and related persons in respect of disclosures made for public interest.
“It also seeks to provide support, management and protection of witnesses, which will be implemented by all public institutions vested with powers to investigate an/or prosecute criminal cases.
“This programme is a universally accepted concept for the protection of witnesses, who are willing to provide information and evidence for the purpose of enhancing the justice system and whose lives are threatened as a result thereof.
“Therefore, the need to have this legislation in place, cannot be over-emphasised as it will give the needed impetus and credence to the current anti-corruption drive of this administration”, he said.
The report on the Witness Protection and Management Bill was passed by the Senate after a clause-by-clause consideration by the Committee of the Whole.
In a related development, a bill to amend some provisions of the National Biosafety Management Agency Act 2015 has scaled second reading in the Senate.
The bill which was sponsored by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (Kebbi North), seeks to regulate, control and limit any threat to public health, or the environment from the commercial handling of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in Nigeria.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, referred the bill after consideration to the Committee on Environment for further work.
The Committee was given four weeks to report back to the chamber in plenary.
The Senate on Wednesday also stepped down consideration of a report on a bill to establish the Federal Polytechnic Orozo, by the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND.
The bill was stepped down due to the absence of the Chairman, Senator Ahmad Babba-Kaita, who was billed to present the report for consideration.
Meanwhile, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has referred two confirmation requests by President Muhammadu Buhari to the relevant committees for legislative inputs.
The confirmation of Dr. Hale Gabriel Longpet as Resident Electoral Commission for the Independent National Electoral Commission was referred to the Committee on INEC to report back in two weeks.
Also referred was the President’s request for the confirmation of four nominees as
Executive Commissioners of the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission to the Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream).
The nominees include Dr. Nuhu Habib (North West, Kano State), Commissioner, Development and Production; and Dr. Kelechi Onyekachi Ofoegbu (South East, Imo State), Commissioner, Economic Regulation and Strategic Planning.
Others are Capt. Tonlagha Roland John (South-South, Delta State), Commissioner, Health, Safety, Environment and Community; and Jide Adeola (North Central, Kogi State), Commissioner, Corporate Services and Administration.
The nominees are expected to appear before the respective Committees for screening.
The Committee was given four week ms to conclude work on the screening exercise and report back to the chamber.