Law News
Reps’ absence at plenary stalls debates on bills, $9.3m cash export

MANY bills slated for deliberations, yesterday, at plenary in the House of Representatives were stalled due to the absence of lawmakers.

This development came to the fore barely 72 hours after amending its standing rules to make the remaining five months of its session more productive.

Also, the motion on the need to investigate the attempt to smuggle the sum of $9.3million into South Africa was affected as its sponsor and Deputy Minority Leader, Abdlrahman Kawu, APC, Kano, was visibly missing.

The session, which commenced at exactly 10a.m., with the speaker, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, presiding before handing over to his deputy, Emeka Ihedioha.
Tambuwal had left the chamber to declare open a joint public hearing of the Ad hoc Committee on Constitutional Review and the House Committee on Public Petition.

Presiding over the plenary, Ihedioha was able to pass two bills through third reading, which ordinarily requires no debate.
For the other four bills slated for debate into second reading, only the bill for an Act to Amend the Companies and Allied Matters Act Cap, C20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to prohibit Infants and Other Persons of Questionable Character from Being Members of Companies was considered.

The Bill, sponsored by Ossai Nicolas Ossai, PDP, Delta, was killed, following his refusal to step it down for additional research into the subject matter, as suggested by Abubakar Momoh,PDP, Edo.

The other three bills could not be taken for debates as all the sponsors were absent at plenary, prompting the presiding officer to call the attention of the House Majority Leader, Mulikat Akande-Adeola, and the Chairman Rules and Business, Albert Sam Tsokwa, for enquiries.

Surprised at the development, Ihedioha stated:   ‘’Chairman Rules and Business, how come the sponsors of all these bills are not here to debate their bills?  Were they not properly informed about the orders on notice?’’

After a brief discussion with the House Leader and Chairman Rules and Business, the presiding officer told lawmakers present that the day was, however, not wasted as some achievements were made.

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