The House of Representatives yesterday moved to pull down one of the last relics of Nigeria’s colonial past as the lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in favour of the repeal of the Sales of Goods Act 1893.
Exactly 120 years ago, the Sale of Goods Act was enacted by the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland to regulate contracts in which goods were bought and sold.
The Act and several others that were in force in the United Kingdom before 1900, were by extension made applicable to Nigeria during the colonial era.
Even after Nigeria gained independence in 1960, the Sale of Goods Act survived the change of guards and has remained the law regulating the sale of any commodity except landed property in Nigeria.
Chairman, House Committee on Justice, Hon. Ali Ahmad (PDP/Kwara) and four other lawmakers, brought the archaic law to the floor and sought for its repeal. In the lead debate, Ahmad explained that the essence of repealing the existing legislation was to pave the way for the enactment of a new law that will take into consideration the present day realities in Nigeria.
The proposed legislation, he explained, would retain the cardinal principles of the colonial law but will eliminate the references to the British Pounds, Shillings and other such terms.
It will also incorporate some provisions of the Nigeria Investment Promotions Commission Act which prohibits the importation of certain goods into Nigeria.
According to Ahmad, the law was long over due for a review if not for anything but for national pride and the need for Nigeria to move on with the times.
He disclosed that the 1893 Act had long been repealed and undergone several amendments in the United Kingdom. The last of the revisions was carried out in 2012.
He explained thatthough some states in Nigeria had domesticated the original law to suit their peculiar situations, this was the first time the colonial law was being amended by the federal parliament in Nigeria.
The Speaker of the House, Aminu Tambuwal, commended the sponsors of the bill for their initiative in exposing its inadequacies and proposing a new law. Tambuwal said the debate had shown that there were several other laws which the National Assembly needed to review and bring to conformity with present day realities.
He directed the House Committee on Justice to liaise with the National Institute for Legislative Studies and the Nigeria Law Reform Commission to fish out such archaic laws for review.
Also yesterday, a Bill for an Act to Amend the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission Act scaled the second reading stage.
The Bill sponsored by Hon. Saviour Udoh (PDP/Akwa Ibom) attracted a long debate and was almost thrown out but for the last minute efforts of its proponents.
The bill seeks to check the influx of foreign goods and services into Nigeria. It was also designed to restrict petty trading in Nigeria to Nigerians alone.
Several lawmakers who contributed to the debate were of the view that the bill needed to be carefully reviewed to avoid some negative repercussions on Nigeria and her citizens who do business in other countries.
Yet some lawmakers did not see anything wrong with enacting a law to regulate trade and protect the economy from foreign domination.
The bill was passed for second reading and referred to the House Committee on Commerce, Justice and Treaties for further legislative work.