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Lack of quorum stalls Senate’s consideration of major bills

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[FILE PHOTO] Senate President, Bukola Saraki

• Only 10 members attend session
For the second time in two legislative years, the Senate yesterday failed to sit and consider key bills on account of lack of quorum. The first incident was November last year when it adjourned for same reason.

Pieces of legislation, including the National Transport Commission Bill, National Fertiliser Quality Control Bill, and the Agencies for National Ethics and Values Bill, scheduled for consideration having passed through the committee stage, were unattended to, as only 10 members graced yesterday’s session.

Also, the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Bill was to be introduced to the whole house.

Equally to be given attention was the conference committee report on the Promissory Note Programme and A Bond Issuance to settle Inherited Local Debts and Contractual Obligations.

According to Section 54 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the upper chamber of the National Assembly needs at least 37 lawmakers ­ – being one-third of its 109 membership –to legally conduct any legislative business.

The plenary, presided over by Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki, had observed its usual prayers and adopted the votes and proceedings of the previous moved by Uche Andrew (APC, Rivers State) and seconded by Minority Whip, Philip Aduda at 10.30a.m. when the lawmakers congregated.

Before the green chamber could proceed to the next item on its Order Paper, a voice was suddenly heard. It was that of the Chief Whip, Olusola Adeyeye.

Citing Section 10 of the Senate Standing Rule, he drew Saraki’s attention to the fact that the sitting could not continue for absence of quorum.

The cited section reads: “The quorum of the Senate shall be one-third of its members.”

Others that attended the aborted sitting were Gbenga Ashafa (APC, Lagos); Shaba Lafiagi (PDP, Kwara State); Deputy Minority Leader, Emmanuel Bwacha; Deputy Chief Whip, Francis Alimikhena; Suleiman Adokwe (PDP, Nasarawa State) and Gbolahon Dada (APC, Ogun State).

The unsavoury development had in the past disrupted the legislative activities of the Senate.


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Bukola Saraki
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