The Senate on Wednesday began moves to legalise lobbying in
Nigeria as it passed for second reading, a Bill seeking for law to
register and regulate lobbying as a profession.
The “Bill for an Act for the Regulation and Registration of
Lobbyists in Nigeria and for other matters connected therewith,
2016’’ is sponsored by Dino Melaye, (APC, Kogi West).
While presenting his lead debate, Mr. Melaye argued that the
National Assembly needed to recognise and approve professional
lobbyists in the legislature.
He added that the Bill would also make provision for intending
lobbyist to be duly registered under the Company and Allied and
Mr. Melaye said that the lobbyist after being registered with
Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) would also have to register
with the Ministry of Justice to practice as lobbyist in the Senate or
House of Representatives.
He defined lobbying as an activity in which special interests hire
well-connected professional advocates, often lawyers, to argue for
specific legislation in parliament.
He said that although the bill looked controversial and perceived
as negative, lobbying took place at every level of government.
“The bill will create stricter registration requirement for lobbyists
and also require lobbyists to disclose how much they make and
spend on lobbying.
“It will ban lobbyist from paying for gifts and food as a means of
inducement and it would give oversight agencies more powers to
investigate violation of ethics laws,” he said.
The lawmaker added that the Bill will also offer the legislator
opportunity to be more informed about a bill before it comes for
According to him, the lobbyists will be readily available to inform
the legislators of the idea behind the Bill being pushed.
Many senators, including Ben Bruce, Godswill Akpabio, and
Mohammed Ali Ndume, who spoke, supported the Bill.
They argued that when passed, the Bill would help legislators to
sponsor individual bills.
The senate referred the Bill to its Committee on Judiciary, Human
Rights and Legal Matters, with a directive to report back in three