Incessant recesses as bane of parliamentary gains
WITH the eventual resolution of the crisis that rocked the House of Representatives over leadership positions shortly after its inauguration, Nigerians expected the parliament to quickly settle down for business and provide true representation to constituents in all the geo-political zones of the country.
But this was not to be, as the House, penultimate Thursday, 13th August 2015 again, adjourned sitting to commence its 2015 annual recess. Members are expected to resume plenary on Tuesday 29 September 2015.
The Speaker, Yakubu Dogara on June 23 presented before the House a draft legislative agenda, a blueprint to drive the legislative activities of the 8th House.
Debate on the document began on June 24 but was truncated following the unfortunate incident of June 25 when lawmakers engaged one another in a brawl over leadership crisis.
An event that forced the House to adjourned for over one month. The development has thus affected what would have been a smooth sail for the parliament in carrying out its scheduled activities immediately after inauguration on June 9, 2025.
Dogara himself recently lamented that the leadership crisis that rocked the current National Assembly soon after its inauguration on June 9 was a serious distraction to the parliament.
Speaking while inaugurating a 12-man committee to help in the nation’s law reform process, Dogara explained that the House was committed to expeditiously pass all major bills before it so as to impact positively on the lives Nigerians, a move the leadership crisis has slowed down.
He said what necessitated the setting up of the committee was the need to review the various laws in the statutes books of the nation, which he said had become obsolete, anachronistic and outdated, adding that by the provision of Section 315 of the 1999 Constitution, all existing laws, including military era legislations, were deemed to be Acts of the National Assembly. “The 8th Assembly has had a few distractions, but it is time to get on to the job for which we were elected.
Apart from reviewing existing laws, law reform involves introduction of new laws where necessary. “Laws that aid the anti corruption struggle, infrastructure renewal, efficient and optimal utilization of our petroleum resources, solid minerals, education and social services, agriculture, diversification of our economy and massive employment of our teeming youthful population should engage our undivided attention as a parliament.
The good news, however, is that the 8th House of Representatives is resolutely committed to expeditious passing all major bills before it or submitted to it that will impact positively on the lives and well-being of Nigerians.
This is the irrevocable undertaking enshrined in our legislative agenda,” the Speaker declared. Although the 8th Assembly may not have achieved much in terms of legislative business since inauguration, a few critical parliamentary activities by the lawmakers while plenary sessions held may have begun to yield positive results for the Nigerian people.
Worthy of mention is a resolution which has urged the Federal Government to carry out a massive recruitment of more Nigerians into the nation’s Police Force as a way of mitigating the effects of dwindling manpower in the force and tackle insecurity in the country.
This was sequel to the adoption of a motion introduced by Uzoma Nkem-Abonta (PDP, Abia), titled “Urgent Need to Recruit More Police Officers/Men in The Country, Improve Police Welfare and Capacity to Close The Wide Gap of Policing in The Country.”
The development may have resulted in the President Mohammadu Buhari’s announcement last week that the Federal Government will recruit an additional 10,000 Police Officers and establish an anti-terrorism multi-agency Joint Task Force as well as see to the installation of close circuit monitoring cameras in major cities of the country. Abonta who had in his submission on the floor expressed regrets over the predicament of personnel among others, said about 20 to 30
policemen die on a monthly basis and no provision had been made for their replacement. “In spite of the inadequacy of policemen/officers, lack of police welfare including salaries, financial inducements, capacity building and proper accommodation; the last of which was described as a “shame” by the ex-President Jonathan when he visited Ikeja Barracks in July 2013, does not encourage their optimal performance and constituted the reason for a purported strike action by policemen sometime in February this year,” he said.
Similarly, the recent decision of the Federal Government to order the setting up of a military committee to review the military court martial which sentenced some defaulting soldiers to death came after a member of parliament sought intervention on the matter.
Specifically, the member of the House had stressed the need for President Mohammadu Buhari to intervene and order a review of the court martial which prescribed death penalty for the soldiers who allegedly defaulted while prosecuting the fight against insurgency in the Northeastern region of the country.
Judging from government’s recent decisions on some of the sundry and critical issues raised by the current 8th Assembly, observers are inclined to conclude that the incessant recesses by the parliament may have been responsible for some of the little or outright inactions in the numerous sectors requiring urgent interventions in the country.
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