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Things to know when submitting a memo to the National Assembly

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Submitting a memo to the Nigerian National Assembly on draft legislation (bill) can seem like a big deal. However, here are simple rules that you must follow:

Be structured: The best strategy for your memo is not to address every single issue in the draft legislation. Try as much as you can to structure the bill by using the first paragraph to introduce yourself/organisation and observe protocols (Address to relevant house leadership or the committee chairman).

Be concise: You must be able to show why the provision(s) you are speaking to/against is/are problematic without writing long essays. Mention the provision(s) you are speaking to and identify each clause and sub-clause number.

Referencing laws, international instruments to bolster your argument; As much as possible, link your argument to the Nigerian constitution, relevant Nigerian laws and applicable international instruments or International treaties that Nigeria is a party to.

Avoid name-calling, biases/sentiments; Stick to the issues and avoid attacking other people’s personalities. Your writing must be as objective as possible, devoid of ethnic, religious or other biases.

Support argument with recommendations: You must recommend either of the following; i. Alternative wording ii. Revised texts or iii. That the texts be totally deleted.

Contact information: The committee may decide to reach out to you to clarify what they deem ambiguous in your submissions.

Some technical details: Reference authorities or academic work in the bill and add a footnote. Always check the proper name for each bill on the National Assembly or the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) website.


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