A bill that proposes a certain date including day and time that the National Assembly would always be inaugurated was stepped down in the Senate.
There has been varied arguments that the NASS does not have an exact date which legislative powers are smoothly transferred from the outgoing National Assembly to in-coming one.
Tagged “A Bill to for an Act to for Provide the Inauguration of the national Assembly”, sponsored by Senator Gabriel Suswam (PDP Benue North East), was to be passed for second reading before it was stepped down.
Suswan, while presenting the bill during plenary, stated that Section 4 of the 1999 constitution as amended empowered the National Assembly to amend the extant laws of the country.
The former Benue State governor further noted that Section 64(3) mandates the NASS to fix specific date for its inauguration following proclamation of the Assembly by the President.
The bill proposes a national assembly inauguration committee to be established, to designate a certain and definite day for convening and inaugurating the National Assembly.
When the bill was presented, Senators unanimously said it cannot be achieved because there was not constitutional amendment to the effect.
In his submission, Senator James Manager (PDP Delta South), said “this bill is a good bill no doubt but it requires constitution amendment to ensure certainty of the inauguration and there shall be public hearing where ex-principal officers and lawmakers of the National Assembly would be invited to offer their perspectives.”
Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, agreed that a fixed date for inauguration of NASS can’t be passed merely through a bill, saying that such bill could not be legally backed unless the constitution is amended to that effect.
Ruling on the matter, President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan stepped down the bill and advised that the sponsor make a new bill for constitutional amendment to pave the way for the inauguration bill to be taken again.
He said: “I advise that we toe the line of constitution amendment to achieve this bill. It is a good bill and it has succeeded in igniting the arguments to the matter and I want to ask Senator Suswam to propose a constitution review in order for the bill to be taken.”
In his acceptance, Suswam said: “Mr. President, I agree to listen to the voice of wisdom from my colleagues and I will go back and make detailed bill for constitution amendment proposal.
“But like I said, it is very important that the National Assembly does amend the constitution and ensure there is exact date for inauguration of NASS.”
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