Major events at the House of Representatives this week

The House of Representative in Chamber ... members are notorious for budget mutilation
The House of Representative in Chamber ... members are notorious for budget mutilation

As the House of Representatives concluded its legislative functions of the year 2017, it was majorly characterised by intrigues ranging from defections, drama and protests.

Here are some of the major events from plenary this week:

Tuesday

The minority party of the green chamber, the People’s Democratic Party was taken by surprise when one of its members, Nnanna Igbokwe announced his defection to the ruling party, All Progressives Congress in a letter to the house.

It was such a dramatic event as the minority party members protested and urged Speaker Yakubu Dogara to declare the seat of Mr. Igbokwe vacant, a request the Speaker refused to grant.

Furious by the actions of Mr. Dogara, the opposition party staged a walk out in protest and addressed National Assembly journalists.

They expressed their displeasure over the speaker’s refusal to declare Igbokwe’s seat vacant and vowed to take the matter to court.

The House also resolved to wade into the controversy surrounding a law graduate not being called to bar for insisting on wearing hijab.

It mandated its committees on Justice and Judiciary to conduct the investigation.

Wednesday

The House on Wednesday discharged 19 of its standing committees of bills referred to them in pursuant to Order 17, Rule 3 (g) of the Standing Orders of the house rule which states that any matter referred to any committee shall be treated within 30 days otherwise the committee shall stand discharged after 60 days and the matter committed to the Committee of the Whole for consideration.

The bills are now referred to the Committee of the Whole for consideration.

The bills include; Freedom of Information Act (Amendment) 18/11/2015 FOI (Reform Bill, 2015 (HB. 40) Government Institutions), Federal Land Registry (Miscellaneous Provisions) 24/11/2015 Housing Act (Amendment) Bill 2015 (HB. 52), and the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act (Amendment) 26/11/2015 Solid Minerals Bill 2015 (HB. 88) Development.

Others are Nigerian Police Academy Act (Amendment) Bill 2/12/2015 Tertiary 2015 (HB. 115) Education and Services, Federal Capital Territory Trust Fund (Establishment, 9/12/2015 Federal Capital etc) Bill 2015 (HB. 148) Territory, and Kidney Transplant Bill 2015 (HB. 153) 16/12/2015 Healthcare Services among others.

Thursday

Just like on Tuesday, while taking announcements, the Speaker announced the resignation of Mr. Johnson Agbonayinma, again from the opposition PDP.

Mr. Agbonayinma, a member from Edo who represents Egor/Ikpoba-okha federal constituency in the same letter announced he is now a registered member of the ruling APC.

He accused his former party of turning its back on him since after the Supreme Court judgement that sacked the former chairman of the PDP, Ali Modu-Sheriff, whom he (Agbonayinma) is loyal to.

In a dramatic move, unlike the usual protests that usually takes place when a member cross carpets from one party to the other, the opposition party members were seen jubilant and waving Mr. Agbonayinma goodbye.

While reacting to his defection, the deputy minority leader, Chukwuma Onyema described Agbonayinma’s defection as a great relief, describing him as a “cancerous tumor”.

It is however not clear if his defection would be challenged in court like that of his other colleagues.

Legislative activities of the House of Representatives would resume in earnest on 16th January, 2018.


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