The House of Representatives will suspend its extended break and reconvene Thursday to consider a request by President Goodluck Jonathan to extend emergency rule in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States.
Mr. Jonathan has requested the Senate and the House to approve an extension of emergency rule in the three states for the third time to help the military quell a brutal insurgency by Boko Haram.
The Senate confirmed receiving the president’s letter Tuesday, and commenced debate on the request with some senators rejecting the president’s request.
Both Houses must agree for a new round of extension after the expiration of the existing one on Thursday.
The House of Representatives, which adjourned October 28 after the speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, defected from the Peoples Democratic Party, to the All Progressives Congress, APC, will reconvene ahead of scheduled resumption date to discuss the request, the speaker said Tuesday.
“On Tuesday, 18th November 2014, I received a communication from the President, Commander-in- Chief of the Armed Forces, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCFR, requesting for the extension of the existing State of Emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States by the House of Representatives,” he said in a statement.
“Pursuant to the powers conferred on me by Section 305 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, which requires me to “forthwith convene or arrange a meeting of the House” and in order to treat the extension before the expiration of the current State of Emergency in accordance with Section 305 (6) (c) of the Constitution, I hereby reconvene the House of Representatives…”
The House initially scheduled to reopen in December in a move believed designed by Mr. Tambuwal to frustrate any backlash from the PDP over his defection to the APC which is in the minority in the House.
Thursday’s sitting will be the first time the House will be convening since the defection, and the session is expected to feature concerns from the ruling party on whether or not Mr. Tambuwal will retain his seat as speaker.
Minority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, told PREMIUM TIMES that the APC was not concerned about PDP lawmakers attempting to move against Mr. Tambuwal.
“We are not concerned because PDP lawmakers, individually, I believe, will respect the law. They are upright people. The court said the status quo should remain,” he said.
Mr. Gbajabiamila said President Jonathan’s letter to Mr. Tambuwal in his capacity as speaker, nullifies arguments by the same party that the speaker lost his seat after decamping to APC.
“PDP cannot on the one hand say somebody is not a speaker or member and meanwhile the president is writing a letter to him as the speaker. The House is one,” he said.