THE House of Representatives on Tuesday stepped down second reading of two bills transmitted to it from the Senate for concurrence in protest against the alleged abandonment of bills from the House by the upper chamber.
The affected bills were titled, ‘A Bill for an Act to Provide for Establishment of Chartered Institute of Directors of Nigeria; and for Related Matters’ and ‘A Bill for an Act to Establish Federal University of Agriculture and Technology, Aboh; and for Related Matters.’
A mild drama had played out when the House got to Items 2 and 3 in the Bills section of the day’s Order Paper.
The Chairman of the House Committee on Rules and Business, Abubakar Fulata, asked that the first bill be stepped down as the Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, who was to lead the debate on the legislation, was not on seat.
The Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, before ruling on the prayer, asked to meet with some leaders of the chamber, who approached him where he was seated.
After some minutes, Gbajabiamila asked Fulata to guide the House on what action to be taken on the bill.
Fulata said, “We have 69 of our bills awaiting concurrence by the Senate. They have concurred with 17 of our bills. We have concurred with 14 of their bills. So, what is outstanding? The information still not complete is how many Senate bills with us that are awaiting concurrence. Once we get the statistics, we will have a complete picture.”
In his ruling, Gbajabiamila said, “Okay, I agree. We will step that matter down until we get the full picture of the numbers. Thank you. The matter is stepped down.”
The House had on June 9, 2021, the third time within four months, accused the Senate of not concurring with bills transmitted to it, threatening to reciprocate by not passing bills from the other chamber.
The House was to consider among others, ‘A Bill for an Act to amend the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria Act, No. 2, 2019 to extend the Tenure of the Resolution Cost Fund.
Ado-Doguwa had urged the lawmakers to pass the Senate bill.
However, the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, said, “Leader of the House; please, I think you should talk to the Leader of the Senate that many bills are outstanding from the House in the Senate that require the same mutual concurrence. And we will begin to study it. That is your responsibility.”
On March 16, 2021, Ado-Doguwa had partly said, “I want to put it straight that we will always concur with bills coming from the Senate and we expect the same from the Senate to concur with our bills that go to the Senate.”