House of Reps should be scraped —Ray Ekpu

“The House of Representatives should be scrapped”, a veteran journalist and member of the committee on politics and governance, Mr Ray Ekpu has said.

He said instead the number of senators from each state should be increased to four and one for the Federal Capital Territory.

He said the present bicameral arrangement where there is a Senate and House of Representatives is wasteful and overburdened.

Speaking during the committee’s meeting, Ekpu said: “I will like to vote for unicameral legislature because at present, we are already overburdened. We have 774 parliaments in the local government. We have 36 States Houses of Assembly. And we have two at the national level.

“I am advocating the scrapping of the House of Representatives. I will vote for having the Senate. We can increase the number of senators to four per state. In that case, we will have 144 senators plus one representing the FCT. We will reduce the cost. We will reduce the friction that currently occurs between the House of Reps and the Senate.

“The House of Reps is called the lower house; they said they are not lower house. We are equals. But the constituencies are not equal. The salaries that they earn are not equal,” he said.

The former editor of Newswatch news magazine said “nobody in the House of Commons will say Members of Lords, we are equal. They do different things. The Senate does confirmation hearing, but the House of Representative don’t, but they say we are equal.”

On the issue of state police, Mr. Ekpu said: “My position (on state police) is not an armchair presentation. I am speaking because I was a member of the Police Service Commission for five years. And I have knowledge about how the federal police work.

“If you have true federal system, you will have state police, state courts etc. These all go with true federalism. We are complaining already with the problem we have in security. And look at the blame game going on between the federal government and the Borno State government.

“If you have a police service that is close to the people; that nearness provides protection. It provides cover for the rural populace. Local police will know the territory.

“If I post a policeman from Abuja to my village; he doesn’t know the arrangement, he doesn’t know the terrain. If you don’t have a local police, you will be denied of local knowledge of happenings – customs and people and so on,” he said.


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