House Set To Repeal 120-Year-Old Law

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ABUJA, May 08, (THEWILL) – A Bill to repeal a 120-year-old law on sale of goods scaled through the second reading on Wednesday in the House of Representatives.

The Bill entitled, A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Sales of Goods Act of 1893 and Re-enact the Sales of Goods Bill, 2013 to Provide for Regulation of Sales of Goods in Nigeria and Related Matters.

This is just as Speaker Aminu Tambuwal called for an urgent repeal and re-enactment of colonial and archaic laws still operating in the country to suit the present need and aspirations of Nigerians.

Tambuwal charged the House Committee on Justice to liaise with the Institute of Legislative Studies (ILS) and the Nigerian Law Reform Commission(NLRC) to ensure that all outdated laws that are still being practised in the country are repealed.

“The Justice Committee is (hereby) directed to liaise with the Institute of Legislative Studies and the Law Reform Commission to bring all archaic laws for reconsideration to see how best we can amend them to suit our present need and aspiration,” he said.

In his lead debate on the general principles of the bill, chairman of Justice Committee, who is also the sponsor of Bill, Ali Ahmed, informed the House that the law was outdated, as it was enacted in Britain in 1893, arguing that the amendment would remove all reference to British authority and incorporate the powers of the Nigeria Export Import Corporation while making the ambiguous law simpler for judges to interprete when the need arises.

“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 made applicable to Nigeria by extension through various instruments of the colonial regime. The Sale of Goods Act 1893 (56 & 57 Vict. c.71) has survived and is still the current law regulating sale of any commodity or item, except landed property, in Nigeria.

“Expectedly, the Parliament of the United Kingdom has long repealed the Act, the last revision having been carried out in 2012. Although majority of States in Nigeria have repealed the colonial-era legislation and replaced it with a version of their own, this has not happened at the federal level. And it is at the federal level that substantial amount of sales takes place. This is because, among other reasons, the federal statute applies to any sale that takes place between parties who do not reside in the same state,” he observed.

He added that the amendment is meant to repeal the 64-section 1893 Act to alter the structure, phraseology and numbering of the previous Act and that its 53 clauses among others cater for rights and interests that have accrued before the commencement of the Bill.

Supporting the Bill, Hon. Ibrahim Tukur El-Sudi, who expressed dismay that a country that has been independent for half a decade is still practising “moribund laws that are even outdated in Britain”, acknowledged that some states, especially in the south-west, have domesticated the law to suit their purpose.

“But there has not been any such action the federal level,” he added.

The Bill was later referred to the Committees on Commerce and Justice.