A foremost consumer rights attorney in Nigeria, Olumide Babalola of Olumide Babalola Legal Practitioners, has, on behalf of Laws and Right Awareness Initiative and Daniel J. Daniel, filed a suit against the Clerk of the National Assembly and the Speaker of the House of Representatives over failure to present the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill (HB 490) to the President for his assent.
The Digital Rights and Freedom Bill which was passed by the House of Representatives in December 2017, and by the Senate in March 2018, has remained with the National Assembly for over 6 months. Despite advocacy efforts by Civil Societies and stakeholders to engage the Clerk on the transmission of the Bill, the President is yet to receive the Bill for his assent.
The suit which was filed on the 14th day of September 2018 at the Federal High Court in Abuja states that the applicants had written letters to the Speaker and the Clerk calling on them to perform their administrative duties under the Acts Authentication Act.
Sections 2 and 3 of the Acts Authentication Act saddle the Clerk and the Speaker with the duty of presenting the Bill to the President for his assent. While the Speaker has the duty of issuing the directive to the Clerk, the latter has the duty of preparing a clean copy together with a schedule and presenting it to the President for his assent.
The applicants are, among other things, asking the court to grant an order of mandamus compelling the Clerk of the National Assembly “to prepare, certify a copy of the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill and present it to the President” for his assent.
No date has been fixed yet for the hearing of the suit.